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Volume ni. 



. 1807 . 




A DISCOURSE delivere<l at a Meeting of the Affatlcfc 
Society, in Calcutta, on the 22 d of May, 1794*, by 
the Honourable Sir John Shore - - * i 

A Difcourfe on the InlHtution of a Society, for in- 
quiring into the Hiftory, civil and natural, the An- • • 
tiquities. Arts, Sciences, and literature, of Alia 1 
The Second Anniverfary Difcourfe, delivered 2 Uh of 

February, 1785 - - - . 10 

The Third Anniverfary Difcourfe, on the Hindus, de- 
livered 2 d of February, 1786 - - 24 

The Fourth Anniverfary Difcourfe, on the Arabs, de- 
livered 15th February, 1787 ... 47 

The Fifth Anniverfary Difcourfe, on the Tartars, de- 
livered 21 ft February, 1788 - - 71 

The Sixth Anniverfary Difcourfe, on the Perfiaus, de- 
livered 18th February, 1789 - - 193 

The Seventh Anniverfary Difcourfe, on the Chinefe, 

delivered 25th February, 1790 ^ - - 137 

The Eighth Anniverfary Difcourfe, on the Borderers, 
Mountaid^ers, and Iflanders of Ah^J delivered 24th 

1791 ic2 

VOL. I. 



The Ninth Anniverfary Difcourfe, on the Origin and 
Families of Nations, delivered 2;5d February, 1792 185 

The Tenth Anniverfary Difcourfe, on Afiatick Hif- 

tory, civil and natural, delivered 2<?th February, 3 793 205 

The Eleventh Anniverfary Difcourfe, on the Philo- 

fophy of the Afiaticks, delivered 20th February, 1794* 229 

A Diflertation on the Orthography of Afiatick Words 

in Roman Letters - . - - 253 

/On the Gods of Greece, Italy, and India - 319 











* Since Lord Teignmouth» 






If I had confulted m]^ competency only, for 
the ftation which your choice has conferred 
4ipon me, I muft v/ithout hefitation have d^ 
dined the honour of being the Prefident of this 
Society; and although I moft cheerfully ac- 
cept your invitation, with every inclination to 
aflift, as far as my abilities extend, in pro- 
moting the laudable views of your afTociation* 
I muft ftill retain the confcioufnefs of thofe dif- 
qualifications, which you have been pleafed to 

It was lately our boaft to poflefs a Pre- 
fident, whofe name, talents, and charader, 
would have been honourable to any inftitution ; 
it is now our misfortune to lament, that Sir 
•William Jones exifts, but in the affections of his 
friends, and in the efteem, veneration, and regret 
of all. 

I cannA, I flatter myfelf, offer a more grate- 
fu^ tribute ^o the Society, tha’Q-by making his 
chaiuder th^ fubject of my add^efs to you ; 

■■ '5 2 

[ iv ] 

and if in the delineation of it, fondnefs or affec- 
tion for the man fhould appear blended with 
my reverence for his genius and abilities, in the 
fympathy ofyour feelings I fhall find my apology. 

To define with accuracy the variety, value, 
andvsxtent of his literary attainments, requires 
more learning than I pretend- to poffefs, and 
I am therefore to folicit your indulgence tor 
an imperfect tketch, mther than expert your 
-approbation for a complete defcription of the 
talents, and knowledge, of your late and la- 
mented Prefident. 

Tfhall begin with mentioning his wonderful 
capacity for the acquifition of languages, which 
has never been excelled. In Greek and Roman 
‘ literature, his early proficiency was the fubje<3; 
of admiration and applaufe ; and knpwledge, 
of whatever nature, once obtained by him, was 
ever afterwards progreflive. The more elegant 
dialects of modern Europe, the French, the 
Spanijh, and the Italian, he fpoke and wrote 
with the greateft fluency and precifion ; and 
the German and Portuguefe were familiar to 
him. At an early period of life his application 
to Oriental literature commenced ; he ftudied 
the Hebrew with eafe and fuccefs, and many of 
the molf learned AJiaticks have thj^ candour to 
avow, that his /Knowledge of AraMck and ^er~ 
Jian was _aS accurate and ext enfiye n s-dlgfT own ; 

C V ] 

he was alfo converfant in the Turkijh idiom, 
and the Chinefe had even attrafted his notice, 
fo far as to induce him to learn the radical 
charadters of that language, with a view per- 
haps to farther improvements. It was to be 
expedled, after his arrival in India ^ tb^t/’ he 
would eagerly ■ embrace the opportunity of 
^making himfelf mailer of the Sanfcrit ; and 
the moll enlightened profelTors of the dodlrines 
of Brahma confefs with pride, delight, and- 
A'urprife, that his knowledge of their facrcd 
Jdialedl was moll critically corredl and prqfpund. 
The Pandits, who were in the habit of attencT- 
ing him, when I faw them after his death, at a 
puhHc Durbar, could neither fupprefs their tears 
for his lofs, nor find terms to exprefs their ail-* 
miration, at the wonderful progrefs hie had made 
in their fciences. 

Before the expiration of his twenty-fecond 
year, he had completed his Commentaries on 
the Poetry of the AJiaticks, although a confider- 
able time afterwards elapfed before their publi- 
cation ; and this work, if no other monument of 
his labours exilled, would at once furnilh proofs 
of his confummate' Ikill in the Oriental dialedls, 
of his proficiency in thofe of Rome and Greece, 
of talle andWudition far beyond his years, and 
of Ulents anH application withouf example. 

[ v! ] 

But the judgement of Sir Willmm Jones 
was too difcerning to confider language in any 
other light than as the key of fcience, and 
he would have defpifed the reputation of a 
mere linguift. Knowledge and truth, were the 
obj^of all his ftudies, and his ambition was 
to be ufeful to mankind; with thefe viewsj he 
extended his refearches to all languages, nations, 
and times. 

Such were the motives that induced him to 
propofe to the Government of this country, 
what he juftly denominated a work of national 
utility and importance, the compilation of a co- 
pious digeft of Hmdu and Mahommednn Law, 
i\OTa.Sanfcrit and Arabick originals, with an oiler • 
of his fervices tp fuperintend the compilation, 
and with a promife to tranflate it. He bad 
forefeen, previous to his departure from Europe^ 
that without the aid of fuch a work, the wife 'iind 
benevolent intentions of the legiflature of Great 
Britain, in leaving, to a certain extent, the na- 
tives of thefe provinces in pofleffion of their 
own laws, could not be completely fulfilled ; 
and his experience, after a Ihort refidence in 
India, confirmed what his fagacity had antici- 
pated, that without principles to refer to, in a 
language familkr to the judges o^ the courts, 
adjudications nmongft the natiyes muft too 

[ vii ] 

often be fubjed: to an uncertain and erroneous 
expoAtion, or wilful miAnterpretation of their 

To the fuperintendance of this work, which 
was immediately undertaken at his fuggeftion, 
he affiduoufly devoted thofe hours whic^-ilC" 
could fpare from his profeffional duties. After 
4*^tcing the plan of the digeft, he prefcribed 
its arrangement and niode of execution, and 
feledted from the moft learned Hindus and 
jMahommedans At perfons for the taft of com- 
piling it ; Aattered by his attention, and en- 
couraged by his applaufe, the Pandits' ‘profe- 
cuted their labours with cheerful zeal, to a 
fajtisfactory concluAon. The Molavees have alfo 
nea^y Aniflied their portion of the work, but 
muft ever regret, that the ppomifed tranAation, 
as well as the meditated preliminary diAertation, 
have been fruftrated by that decree, which ’ fo 
o^ten intercepts the performance of human 

During the courfe of this compilation, and 
as auxiliary to it, he was led to ftudy the 
works of Menu, reputed by the Hindus to be 
the oldeft, and holieft of legiAatures ; and find- 
ing them to comprize a fyftem of religious and 
civil duties, and of law in all its branches, fo 
comprehenfive and minutely exa£t, that it might 
be confidered as the Inftitutes bf Hipdu law, he 

[ via ] 

prefented a tranflation of them to the Govem- 
ment of Bengal. During the fame period, 
deeming no labour exceffive or fuperfluous that 
tended, in any refped, to promote the welfare 
or happinefs of mankind, he gave the public an 
verfion of the Arabick text of the Sir A- 
JIYAH, or Mahommedan Law of Inheritan,ce, 
with a Commentary. He had already publiftrcd 
in England^ a tranflation of a Tradt on the fame 
fubje£t, by another Mahommedan Lawyer, con- 
taining, as his own words exprefs, “ a lively 
and elegant epitome of the law of Inheritance, 
according to Zaid.” 

To thefe learned and important works, fo 
far out of the road of amufement, nothijig 
pould have engaged his application, but \hat 
defire which he ever profeflTed, of rendering his 
knowledge ufeful to his nation, and beneficial to 
the inhabitants of thefe provinces. 

Without attending to the chronological order 
of their publication, I fliall briefly recapitulate 
his other performances in Afiatick Literature, as 
far as ray knowledge and recolleilion of them 

The vanity and petulance of Anquetil du 
Perron, with his illiberal reflexions on fome 
of the learned members of the Univerfity of 
Oxford^ extorted from him a letter, in the French 
language^ which has been admired for accurate 

[ ix ] 

criticifm, juft fatire, and elegant compofition. 
A regard for the literary reputation of his coun- 
try, induced him to tranflate, from a Perjian 
original into French^ the life of Nadir Shah, 
that it might not be carried out of England, with 
a reflection, that no perfon had been foupd'Th 
the Britifh dominions capable of tranflating 
•ic. The ftudents of Perfian literature mull 
ever be grateful to him, for a grammar of 
that language, in which he has Ihown the, 
poflibility of combining tafte, and elegance, 
with the precifion of a grammarian ; and 
every admirer of Arabick poetry, mull ac- 
knowledge his obligations to him, for an 
^nglijh verfion of the feven celebrated poems, fo 
we^d known by the name of Moallakat^ from 
the diftinCtion to which their ex*^llence had 
entitled them, of being fufpended in the 
terpple of Mtcca: I Ihould fcarcely think it of 
-■importance to mention, that he did not difdain 
the office of Editor of a Sanfcrit and Perfian 
work, if it did not afford me an opportunity 
of adding, that the latter was publiffied at his 
own expence, and was fold for the benefit of 
infolvent debtors. A fimilar^ application was 
made of the produce of the Sirajiyah. 

Of his lighter produ«ftions, the elegant 
amufements of his leifure hours, comprehend- 
ing hymns on the Hindu mythology, poems 

[ ^ ] 

confifting chiefly of tranflations from the 
AJiatick languages, and the verfion of Sacon- 
TALA, an ancient Indian drama, it would be 
unbecoming to fpeak in a ftyle of importance 
which he did not himfelf annex to them. They 
fhd^. the activity of a vigorous mind, its ferti- 
lity, its genius, and its tafte. Nor fhall I parti- 
cularly dwell on the difcourfes addrelTed to this 
Society, which we have all perufed or heard, 
■4?r on the other learned and interefting diflerta- 
tions, which form fo large, and valuable a por- 
tion of the records of our Refearches j let us 
• * 

lament, that the fpirit which dictated them 
is to us extindt, and that the voice to which 
we liftened with improvement, and raptur^r^,. 
will be heard by us no more. * 

But I cannot pafs over a paper, which has 
fallen into my pofleflion fince his demife, in 
the hand-writing of Sir William Jones him- 
felf, entitled Desiderata, as more expla- 
natory than any thing I can fay, of the 
comprehenfive views of his enlightened mind. 
It contains, as a perufal of it will fliow, what- 
ever is moft curious, important, and attainable 
in the fciences and hiftories Mf India, Arabia, 
China, and Tart ary ; fubjeds, which he had 
alnfcady moft amply difeufled in the difqui- 
fltions which he' laid before the Society. 

[ xi ] 



1 . — The Ancient Geography of India, 8 
from the Puranas. 

2. — A Botanical Defcription of Indian Plants, 
from the Cofhas, &c. 

3. — A Grammar of the Sanfcrit Language, 
from Panini, &c. 

4. — A Dictionary of the Sanfcrit Language, 
from thirty-two original Vocabularies- and 

5. — On the Ancient Mulic of the Indians. 

6. — On the Medical Subftances of India, 
-a.:d the Indian Art of Medicine. 

7. — On the Philofophy of the Ancient Trf- 
dians. . 

8. — ATranflation of the Veda. 

9. — On Ancient Indian Geometry, Aftro- 
nomy, and Algebra. 

10. — A Tranflation of the Puranas. 

11. — ATranflation of the Mahabbarat and 

12. — On the Indian Theatre, &c. &c. &c. 

13. — On the fndian Conftellations, with their 
Mythology, from the Puranas. 

14. — The Hiftory of India before the Ma- 
hommedan conqueft, from the Sanfcrit-Caflrmir 

C xii 3 


15. — The Hiftory of Arabia before Ma- 

16. — A Tranflatlon of the Hamafa. 

— A Tranflation of Hariri. 

18. — A Tranflation of the Facahatul Khu- 

Of the Cafiah. 


1 — The Hiftory of PeiTia from Authorities 

in Sanfcrit, Arabick, Greek, Turkiih, Perfian, 
ancient and modern. 

Firdaufi’s Khofrau nama. 

20. — The five Poems of Nizami, tranflated in 

A Di£tionary of pure Perfian. Je- 



2 1 . — A Tranflation of the Shi-king. 

22. — The text of Can-fu-tfu verbally tranf-j 


23. — A Hiftory of the Tartar Nations, 

chiefly of the Moguls and Oth ^ 

Turkifli and Perfian. 

[ xiii ] 

We are not authorifed to conclude, that he 
had himfelf formed a determination to complete 
the works which his genius and knowledge had 
thus Iketched •, the tafk feems to require a period, 
beyond the probable duration of any human life ; 
but we, who had the happinefs to know Sir 
William Jones, who were witnefles of his inde- 
fatigable perfeverance in the purfuit of know- 
ledge, and of his ardour to accomplilh whatever 
he deemed important ; who faw the extent of 
his intelle6lual powers, his wonderful attain- 
ments in literature and fcience, and the faci- 
lity with which all his compofitions wefe^made, 
cannot doubt, if it had pleafed Providence to 
protract the date of his exiftence, that he would 
have ably executed much, of what he had fo 
extenfively planned. • 

I hWe hitherto principally confined my 
difcourfe to the purfuits of our late Prefident 
5h Oriental literature, which, from their extent, 
might appear to have occupied all his time ; 
but they neither precluded his attention to pro- 
feflional ftudies, nor to fcience in general : 
amongft his publications in Europe, in polite 
literature, exclufiye of various compofitions in 
profe and verfe, I find a tranflation of the 
fpeeches of Is^us, with a learned comment ; 
?nd, in law, an Eflay on the Law of Bailments ; 


[ xiv ] 

upon the fubjed of this laft work, I cannot 
deny myfelf the gratification of quoting the fen- 
timents of a celebrated hiftorian : “ Sir William 
“ Jones has given an ingenious and rational 
“ eflay on the law of Bailments. He is per- 
-*thaps the only lawyer equally converfant with 
“ the year books of Wejiminjiery the commen- 
“ taries of Ulpian, the Attic pleadings of 
“ Is^us, and the fentences of Arabian and 

Perjian Cadhis." 

His profeflional ftudies did not commence 
before his twenty-fecond year, and I have his 
own authority for aflerting, that the firll book 
of Englijh jurifprudence which he ever ftudied, 
was Fortescue’s eflay in praife of the laws 
of England. 

Of the ability and confcientious integrity, 
•with which he difcharged the fundlicns of a 
Magiftrate, and the duties of a Judge of the 
Supreme Court of Judicature in this fettlement, 
the public voice and public regret bear ample 
and merited teftimony. The fame penetration 
which marked his fcientific refearches, diftin- 
guiflied his legal inveftigations and decifions ; 
and he deemed no inquiries burthenfome, which 
had for their obje<3; fubftantial juflice under the 
rules of law. 

His addrefles to the jurors, are not lefs dif- 

[ ] 

tinguifhed for philanthropy, and liberality of 
fentiment, than for juft expofitions of the law, 
perfpicuity, and elegance of didlionj and his 
oratory was as captivating as his arguments were 

In an epilogue to his commentaries on Jfiatick 
poetry, he bids farewell to polite literature, 
without relinqiiilhing his affeiftion for it ; and 
concludes with an intimation of his intention to 
ftudy law, exprefled in a wilh, which we now 
know to have been prophetic. 

. Mihi lit, oro, non inutilis toga, 

Nec indiferta lingua, nec turpis manus ! 

I have already enumerated attainments and 
works, which, from their diverlity and extent, 
feem fer beyond the capacity of the moft en- 
larged minds ; but the catalogue may yet be 
;augmented. To a proficiency in the languages of 
Greece^ Rome, and Asia^ he added the knowledge 
of the philofophy of thofe countries, and of every 
thing curious and valuable that had been taught in 
them. The dodrines of the Academy t the Lyceum^ 
or the Portico^ were not more familiar to him 
than the tenets ot’ the Fedasy the myfticifm of 
the Stt^s, or the religion of the ancient Perjians ;■ 
'and whilft with a kindred genius he perufed witfi 

[ xvi 5 

rapture the heroic, lyric, or moral compofitions, 
of the moft renowned poets of Greece, Rome, 
and he could turn with equal delight and 
knowledge, to the fublime fpeculations, or ma- 
thematical calculations, of Barrow and New- 
ton. With them alfo, he profefled his con- 
viction of the truth of the Chrijiian religion, 
and he juftly deemed it no inconfiderable ad- 
vantage, that his refearches had corroborated the 
multiplied evidence of revelation, by confirming 
the Mofaick account of the primitive world. We 
all recollect, and can refer to, the following fen- 
timents'in his eighth anniverfary difcourfe. 

“ Theological inquiries are no part of my 
“ prefent fubjeCl ; but I cannot refrain from 
“ adding, that the collection of traCts, which 
“ we call from their excellence the Scriptures, 
“ contain, independently of a divine "origin, 
“ more true fublimity, more exquifite beauty, 
“ purer morality, more important hiftory, an^ 
“ finer ftrains both of poetry and eloquence, 
“ than could be collected within thp fame 
“ compafs from all other books, that were 
“ ever compofed in any age, or in any 
“ idiom. The two parts, of which the 
Scriptures corifift, are connected by a chain 
“ of compofitions, which bear no refemblance 
in form or ftyle to any th?it can be produced 

[ xvii ] 

“ from the ftores of Greciariy Indian^ Ferjian^ or 
“ even Arabian learning; the antiquity of thofe 
“ compofitions no man doubts, and the un- 
“ ftrained application of them to events long fub- 
fequent to their publication, is a folid ground 
“ of belief, that they were genuine predidions, 

“ and confequently infpired.” 

There were .in truth few fciences, in which 
he had not acquired confiderable proficiency; 
in moft, his knowledge was profound. The 
theory of mufic was familiar to him ; nor had 
he neglcded to make himfelf acquainted -with 
the interefting difcoverics lately made in chy- 
miftry j and I have heard him alTert, that his 
admiration of the ftrudure of the human frame, 
had induced him to attend for a feafon to a courfe 
of anatomical ledures delivered by his friend, the*'' 
celebrated Hunter. 

His laft and favourite purfuit, was the ftudy 
of Botany^ which he originally began under the 
confinement of a fevere and lingering diforder, 
which with moft minds, would have proved a 
difqualification from any application. It confti- 
tuted the principal amufement of his leifure 
hours. In the arrangements of Linnaeus he 
difcovered fyftem* truth, and.fcience, which 
never failed to captivate and engage his atten- 
tion ; and from the proofs which he has 
VOL. I. c 

[ xviii ] 

exhibited of his progrefs in Botany^ we may 
conclude that he would have extended his dif* 
coveries in that fcience. The lafl: compolition 
which he read in this Society, was a defeription 
of feled Indian plants, and 1 hope his Executors 
will allow us to fulfil his intention of publilhing 
it, as a number in our Refearches. 

It cannot be deemed ufelefs or fuperfluous 
to inquire, by what arts or method he was 
enabled to attain to a degree of knowledge 
almoft univerfal, and apparently beyond the 
powers of man, during a life little exceeding 
fortyfcfeven years. 

The faculties of his mind, by nature vfgorous, 
were improved by conftant excrcife; and his 
memory, by habitual pradlice, had acquired a 
capacity of retaining whatever had once been 
imprefled upon it. To an unextinguilhed ardour 
for univerfal knowledge, he joined a perfe- 
verance in the purfuit of it, which fubdued all 
obftacles ; his ftudies began with the dawn, and 
during the intermiflions of profeflional duties, 
were continued throughout the day ; refledion 
and meditation ftrengthened and confirmed 
what induftry and inveftigation had accumu- 
lated. It was a* fixed principle with him, from 
which he never voluntarily deviated, not to be 
deterred by any difficulties that were fur- 

[ xix I 

jnountal)le, from profecuting to a fuccefsfiil 
termination, what he ha4 once deliberately 

But what appears to me more particularly to 
have enabled him to employ his talents fo much 
to his own and the public advantage, was 
the regular allotment of his time to particular 
occupations, and a fcrupulous adherence to the 
diftribution which he had fixed ; hence, all his 
ftudies were purfued without interruption or 
confufion : nor can I here omit remarking, what 
may probably have attracted your obfervation 
as well as mine, the candour and complacency 
with which he gave his attention to all perfons, 
of whatfoever quality, talents, or education ; he 
juftly concluded, that curious or important in- > 
■formation, might be gained even from the illi- ' 
terate ; and wherever it was to be obtained, he 
fought and feized it. 

Of the private and focial virtues of our 
lamented Prefident, our hearts are the beft 
records; to you, who knew him, it cannot 
be neceflary for me to expatiate on the in- 
dependence of his integrity, his humanity, 
probity, or benevolence, which every living 
creature participated ; on the affability of his 
converfation and manners, or his modeft un- 
affuming deportment : nor need I remark, that 
he was totally free from pedantry, as well as 

c 2 

t ] 

from arrogance and felf-fufficiency, which fome- 
times accompany and difgrace the greateft abi- 
lities; his prefence was the delight of every 
fociety, v<rhich his converfation exhilarated and 
improved ; and the public have not only to 
lament the lofs of his talents and abilities, but 
that of his example. 

To him, as the founder of our Inftitution, 
and wliilft he lived, Us firmeft fupport, our 
reverence is more particularly due ; inftrufted, 
animated, and encouraged by him, genius was 
called forth into exertion, and modeft merit 
was .excited to diftinguUh itfelf. Anxious for 
the reputation of the Society, he was indefatiga- 
ble in his own endeavours to promote it, whilft 
he cheerfully aflifted thofe of others. In lofing 
him, we have not only been deprived of our 
brighteft ornament, but of a guide apd patron, 
on whofe inftrudions, judgment, and candour, 
we could implicitly rely. 

But it will, I truft, be long, very long, before 
the remembrance of his virtues, his genius, and 
abilities, lofe that influence over the members of 
this Society, which his living example had 
maintained ; and if previous to his demife he 
had been aiked, by what pofthumous honours 
or attentions we could beft fliow our refpedt 
for his memory ? I may venture to aflfert he 
would have replied, “ By exerting yourfelveis 

[ xxi ] 

“ to fupport the credit of the Society applying 
to it, perhaps, the dying wifli of father Paul, 
“ efto pcrpetna !” 

In this wifh we mufl. all concur, and with it, 
J clofe this addrefs to you. 








A S I y\. 



When I was at fea laft Auguft, on my voyage 
to this country, which I had long and ardently 
defired to vifit, I found one evening, on in- 
fpcfting the obfervations of the day, that India 
lay before us, and Perjia on our left, whilft a 
breeze from Arabia blew nearlj- on oup Hern. 
A fituation fo pleafing in itfelf, and to me fo new, 
could not fail to awaken a train of reflexions in 
a mind, which had early -beenr accuftoraed to 



contemplate with delight tlie eventful hiftorles 
and agreeable fictions of this eaftern world. It 
gave me inexpreflible pleafure to find myfelf in 
the midft of fo noble an amphitheatre, almoft 
encircled by the vafi; regions of AJia^ which has 
ever been efieemed the nurfe of fciences, the in- 
ventrefs of delightful and ufeful arts, the feene 
of glorious actions, fertile in the productions 
of human genius, abounding in natural wonders, 
and infinitely diverfified in the forms of religion 
and government, in the laws, manners, cuftoms, 
and languages, as well as in the features and 
complexions, of men. I could not help remark- 
ing, how important and extenfive a field was 
yet unexplored, and hoM'^ many folid advantages 
unimproved ; and when I confidered, with pain, 
*that, in this fluctuating, imperfeCl, and limited 
condition of life,' fuch inquiries and improve- 
ments could only be made by the united efforts 
of many, who are not eafily brought, without 
fome prefling inducement or ftrong impulfe, to 
converge in a common point, I confoled myfelf 
with a hope, founded on opinions which it 
might have the appearance of flattery to mention, 
that, if in any country or community, fuch an 
union could be effected, it wds among my coun- 
trymen in Bengal, with fome of whom I already 
had, and with mofl: was defirous of having, the 
pleafure of being intimately acquainted. 



You have realized that hope, gentlemen, and 
even anticipated a declaration of my wifhes, 
by your alacrity in laying the foundation of a 
fociety for inquiring into the hiftory and an- 
tiquities, the natural produdions, arts, fciences, 
and literature of Afia. I may confidently foretej, 
that an inftitution fo likely to afford entertain- 
ment, and convey knowledge, to mankind, will 
advance to maturity by flow, yet certain, de- 
grees; as the Royal Society, which at firll was 
only a meeting of a few literary friends at Oxford^ 
rofe gradually to that fplendid zenith, at which a 
Halley was their fecretary, and a Newton their 
prefid ent. 

Although it is my humble opinion, that, in 
order to enlure our fuccefs and permanence, 
we muft keep a middle courfe between a langukV 
rcmilfncfs, and an over zealoiK activity, and that 
the tree, which you have aufpicioufly planted, 
will produce fairer bloflfoms, and more exquifite 
fruit, it it be not at firft expofed to too great a 
glare of funfliine, yet I take the liberty of fub- 
mitting to your confideration a few general ideas 
on the plan of our lociety ; afluring you, that, 
• whether you rejed or approve them, your cor- 
redion will give, me both plejifure and inftruc- 
tion, as your flattering attentions have already 
conferred on me the higheft honour. 

It is your defign, I conceive,-to t^ke an ample 



fpace for your learned inveftigations, bounding 
them only by the geographical limits of yijia ; 
fo that, conficlering Hindujlan as a centre, and 
turning your eyes in idea to the North, you 
have on your right, many important kingdoms 
iii *he Eaftern peninfula, the ancient and won- 
derful empire of China with all her Tartarian 
dejicndcncies, and that of Japany with the duller 
of precious iflands, in which many fmgular cu- 
rioilties have too long been concealed : before 
< 1 lies that prodigious chain of mountains, 
v\ i lich formerly perhaps were a barrier againfl: 
the violence of the fea, and beyond them the 
very intcrefting country of Tihety and the vail 
regions of Tartary, from which, as from the 
Trojan horfe of the poets, have iflued fo many 
confummate warriors, whofe domain has ex- 
tended at lead from the banks of the IliJJus to 
the mouths of the Ganges: on your left are the 
beautiful and celebrated provinces of Iran or ; 
Perjia, the unmeafured, and perhaps unmeafur- 
able deferts of Arabia, and the once flourilhing 
kingdom of Temen, with the pleafant illes that 
the Arabs have fubdued or colonized; and farther 
weftward, the Afiatick dominions of the Turkijls 
fultans, whofe moon feems approaching rapidly 
to its wane. — By this great circumference, the 
field of your ufeful refearches will be inclofed ; 
fiut, fince E^^?.ha<J»nquellionably an old con- 



nedion with this country, if not with nee 

the language and literature of the ^l>yjfimans 
bear a manifeft affinity to thofe of fince 

the Arabian arms prevailed along the African 
coall of the Mediterranean^ and even ere£ted a 
powerful dynafty on the continent of Europe 
you may not be difpleafed occafionally to follow 
the ftreams of AJiaiick learning a little beyond 
its natural boundary ; and, if it be neceflary or 
convenient, that a ffiort name or epithet be given 
to our fociety, in order to diftinguiffi it in the 
world, that of AJiatick appears both claffical and 
proper, whether we conlider the place or the 
objedl of the inftitution, and preferable to On- 
entalf which is in truth a word merely relative, 
and, though commonly ufed in FMrope, con- 
veys no very diftindt idea. • • 

If now it be afked, what afire the intended ob- 
je£ts o^ our inquiries within thefe fpacious limits, 
we anfwer, MAN and NATURE; whatever 
is performed by the one, or produced by the 
other. Human know^ledge has been elegantly 
anal y fed according to the three great faculties of 
the mind, memory, r^ajon, and imagination^ which 
we conftantly find employed in arranging and re- 
taining, comparing and diftingqifliing, combining 
and diverfifying, the ideas, which we receive 
through our fenfes, or acquire by reflection ; 
hence the three main blanches of learning are 



hijiory^ fcience^ and art: the firft comprehends 
either an account of natural productions, or the 
genuine records of empires and ftates ; the fe- 
cond embraces the whole circle of pure and mix- 
ed mathematicks, together with ethicks and law, 
as, far as they depend on the reafoning faculty ; 
and the tliird includes all the beauties of imagery 
and the charms of invention, difplayed in modu- 
lated language, or reprefented by colour, figure, 
or fjund. 

Agreeably to this analyfis, you will inveftigatc 
whatever is rare in the flupendous fabrick of na- 
ture, will correct the geography of AJia by new 
obfervations and difcoveries ; will trace the an- 
nals, and even traditions, of thofe nations, who 
from time to time have peopled or defolated it ; 
aiid- will bring to light their various forms of 
government, with tiieir inftitutions civil and re- 
ligious ; you will examine their improvements 
and methods in arithmetick and geometry, in 
trigonometry, menfuration, mechanicks, opticks, 
altronomy, and general phyficks ; their fyftems 
of morality, grammar, rhetorick, and dialec- 
tick ; their {kill in c hirur gery and medicine, 
and their advancement, whatever it may be, 
in anatomy and chymiftry.a To this you 
will add relearches into their agriculture, 
manufadures, trade ; and, whilft you inquire 
"Wdth pleafure into their mufick, architecture. 



painting, and poetry, will not negledt thofe in* 
ferior arts, by which the comforts and even ele« 
gances of focial life are fupplied or improved. 
You may obferve, that I have omitted their lan- 
guages, the diverfity and difficulty of which are 
a fad obftacle to the progrefs of ufcful knotw^- 
ledge ; but I have ever confidered languages as 
the mere inftruments of real learning, and think 
them improperly confounded with learning 
Itfelf : the attainment of them is, however, in- 
difpenfably neceflary ; and if to the Perjian, 
Armenian, Turkijh, and Arabick, could be added 
not only the Sanfcrit, the treafures of which we 
may now hope to fee unlocked, but even the 
Chinefe, Tartarian, JapaneJe, and the various 
infular dialects, an immenfe mine would then 
be open, in which we might labour with equal 
delight and advantage. • 

Having fubmitted to you thefe imperfect 
thoughts on the limits and objedts of our future 
fociety, I requeft your permiffion to add a few 
hints on the conduct of it in its prefent imma- 
ture ftate. 

Lucian begins one of his fatirical pieces 
againft hiftorians, with declaring that the only 
true propofition in his work was, that it ffiould 
contain nothing true ; and perhaps it may be ad- 
vifable at firft, in order to prevent any difference 
of fentiment on particular points not immediately 



before u«, to eftablifli but one rule, namely, to 
have no rules at all. This only I mean, that, 
in the infancy of any fociety, there ought to be 
BO confinement, no trouble, no expenfe, no un- 
neceflary formality. Let us, if you pleafe, for 
The prefent, have weekly evening meetings in 
this hall, for the purpofe of hearing original 
papers read on fuch fubjedts, as fall within the 
circle of our inquiries. Let all curious and 
learned men be invited to fend their trails to 
our fecretary, for which they ought immediately 
to receive our thanks; and if, towards the end 
of each year, we Ihould be fupplied with a 
fufficiency of valuable materials to fill a volume, 
let us prefent our AJiatick mifcellany to the lite- 
rary world, who have derived fo much pleafure 
find information from the agreeable work of 
Kcempfer, than which we can fcarce propofe a 
better model, that they will accej)t with eager- 
nefs any frelh entertainment of the fame kind. 
You will not perhaps be difpofed to admit mere 
tranflations of confiderable length, except of fuch 
unpublifhed effays or treatifes as may be tranf- 
mitted to us by native authors; but, whether 
you will enrol as members any number of learn- 
ed natives, you will hereafter decide, with many 
other queftions as they happen toarife; and you 
will think, I prefume, that all queftions Ihould 
be decided on a* ballot, by a majority of two 


thirds, and that nine members fliould be re- 
quifite to conftitute a board for fuch decifions. 
Thefe points, however, and all others I fubmit 
entirely, gentlemen, to your determination, hav- 
ing neither wilh nor pretenfion to claim any 
more than my fingle right of fufFrage. One 
thing only, as eflential to your dignity, I re- 
commend' with. earneftnefs, on no account to 
admit a new member, who has not expreffed a 
voluntary delire to become fo ; and in that cafe, 
you will not require, I fuppofe, any other qua- 
lification than a love of knowledge, and a zeal 
for the promotion of it. 

Your inftitution, I am perfuaded, will ripen of 
itfelf, and your meetings will be amply fup- 
plied with interefting and amufing papers, as 
foon as the object of your inquiries lhall "be* 
generally known. There are* it may not be de- 
licate to name them, but there are many, from 
whofe important ftudies I cannot but conceive 
high expectations ; and, as far as mere labour 
will avail, I fincerely promife, that, if in my 
allotted fphere of jurifprudence, or in any intel- 
lectual excurfion, that I may have leifure to 
■make, I fliould be fo fortunate as to colleCt, by 
accident, either firuits or flowers, which may 
feem valuable or plcafing, I fliall offer my humble 
Nezr to your fociety with as much refpeCtful zeal 
as to the greatefl: potentate on earth. 







If tFe Deity of the Hindus^ by whom all theit 
juft requefts are believed to be granted with fin- 
gular indulgence, had propofed laft year to gra- 
tify my warmeft wiflies, I could have defired 
nothing more ardently than the fuccefs of your 
•’inftitution ; becaufe I can deftre nothing in pre- 
ference to the general good, which your plan 
feems calculated to promote, by bringing to 
light many ufeful and interefting tradfs, which, 
being too fliort for feparate publication, might 
lie many years concealed, or, perhaps, irrecover- 
ably perifli: my wifhes are accomplifhed, with- 

• • A-. ■ ’ / , 

out an invocation to Camadhe nu; and your 
Society, having already pafled its infant ftate, 
is advancing to /naturity with every mark of a 
healthy and robuft conftitution. When I reflecft, 
indeed, on the variety of fubjedts, which have 
been difcufled before you, concerning the hif- 


toiy, laws, manners, arts, and antiquities of ^Jia, 
I am unable to decide whether my pleafure or 
my furprife be the greater ; for I will not dif- 
femble, that your progrefs has far exceeded my 
expectations ; and, though we muft feriou/ly 
deplore the lofs of thofe excellent men, who 
have lately departed from this Capital, yet there 
is a profpeCt ftill of large contributions to your 
Hock of AJiatick learning, which, I am per- 
fuaded, will continually increafe. My late jour- 
ney to Benares has enabled me to alTure you, 
that many of your members, who refide at a 
diftance, employ a part of their leifure. in pre- 
paring additions to your archives ; and, unlefs I 
am too fanguine, you will foon receive light from 
them on feveral topicks entirely new in the re- 
publick of letters. * * 

It Yfas principally v/ith a defign to open 
fources of fuch information, that I long had 
meditated an expedition up the Ganges during 
the fufpenfion of my bufinefs j but, although I 
had the fatisfadlion of vifiting two ancient feats 
of Hindu fuperftition and literature, yet, illncfs 
having detained me a confiderable time in the 
way, it was not in my power to continue in 
them long enough to purfue my inquiries ; and 
I left them, as .^ne as is feigned to have left the 
ihades, when his guide made him recolIeCt the 
rf irrevocable tint el with a curiofity 

• VOL. I. D • • 



raifed to the height, and a regret not eafy to be 

Whoever travels in Afia^ efpecially if he be 
converfant with the literature of the countries 
through which he palfes, muft naturally remark 
- the fuperiority of European talents : the obferva- 
tion, indeed, is at-leaft as old as Alexander j 
and, though we cannot agree with the fage pre- 
ceptor of that ambitious Prince, that “ the AJi- 
aiicks are born to be Haves,” yet the Athenian 
poet Teems perfe<Aly in the right, when he re- 
prefents Europe as a Jovereign Princejs, and AJia 
as her Handmaid: but, if the miftrefs be tran- 
fcendently majeftick, it cannot be denied that 
the attendant has many beauties, and fome ad- 
vantages peculiar to hcrfelf. The ancients were 
ttccuftomed to pronounce panegyricks on their 
ow'ii countrymen ‘at the expenfe of all other 
nations, with a political view, perhaps, of fti- 
mulating them by praiTe, and exciting them 
to ftill greater exertions ; but fuch arts are here 
unneceflary ; nor would they, indeed, become 
a fociety, who feek nothing but truth unadorned 
by rhetorick ; and, although we muft be con- 
feious of our fuperior advancement in all kinds 
of ufeful knowledge, yet we ought not there- 
fore to contemn the people of AJia, from whofe 
rcfearches into nature, works of art, and inven- 
tions of fancy, many* valuable hints may be de- 



rived for our own improvement and advantage. 
If that, indeed, were not the principal objeft of 
your inftitution, little elfe could arife from it 
but the mere gratification of curiofityj and I 
fhould not receive fo much delight from the 
humble fhare, which you have allowed me to 
take, in promoting it. 

To form an exad parallel between the works 
and adlions of the Weftern and Eaftern worlds, 
would requii-e a trad of no inconfiderable length j 
but we may decide on the whole, that reafon 
and tafte are the grand prerogatives of European 
minds, while the AJiaticks have foared to .iQftier 
heights in the fphere of imagination. The civil 
hiftory of their vaft empires, and of India in 
particular, muft be highly interefting to our 
common country; but we have a ftill nearer 
intereft io knowing all former modes of ruling 
thefe inejiimable provinces^ on the profperity of 
which fo much of our national welfare, and in- 
dividual benefit, feems to depend. A minute 
geographical knowledge, not only of Bengal 
and Bahar, but, for evident reafons, of all the 
kingdoms bordering on them^ is clofely conneded 
■with an account of their many revolutions : but 
the natural produdtons of thefe* territories, ef- 
pecially in the vegetable and mineral fyftems, 
are momentous objeds of refearch to an imperial^ 



but, which is a charad6r of equal dignity, a com- 
mercialy people. 

If Botany may be defcribed by metaphors 
drawn from the fcience itfelf, we may juftly 
pronounce a minute acquaintance with plantSy 
fheir elaJfeSy orders, kinds, and fpecies, to be its 
flowers, which can only produce fruit by an 
application of that knowledge to the purpofes 
of life, particularly to diet, by which difeafes may 
be avoided, and to medicine, by which they may 
be remedied : for the improvement of the laft 
mentioned art, than which none furely can be 
more beneficial to mankind, the virtues of mi- 
nerals alfo fhould be accurately known. So 
highly has medical fkill been prized by the an- 
cient Indians, that one of the fourteen R etna's, 
tr precious things, which their Gods are believed 
to have produced by churning the ocean with 
the mountain Mandara, was a learned phyfician. 
What their old books contain on this fubjed, 
we ought certainly to difeover, and that without 
lofs of time ; left the venerable but abftrufe lan- 
guage, in which they are compofed, fhould ceafe 
to be perfectly intelligible, even to the belt edu- 
cated natives, through a want of powerful in- 
vitation to ftudy it. BER^fIER, who was him- 
felf of the Faculty, mentions approved medical 
books in Sanferit, and cites a few aphorifms. 


which appear judicious and rational ; but we 
can expedl nothing fo important from the works 
of Hindu or Mujelman phyficians, as the know- 
ledge, which experience muft have given them, 
of Jimple medicines. I have feen an Indian 
prefcrlption of fifty-four^ and another of fixty- 
fix, ingredients ; but fuch compofitions are always 
to be fufpediedj.lince the elFe£t of one ingredient 
may deftroy that of another ; and it were better 
to find certain accounts of a fingle leaf or berry, 
than to be acquainted with the moft elaborate 
compounds, unlefs they too have been proved 
by a multitude of fuccefsful experiments. The 
noble deobftruent oil, extradled from the J^randa 
nut, the whole family of Balfams, the incom- 
parable ftomachick root from Coluinbo, the fine 
aftringent ridiculoufly called fapan earth, but* 
in truth produced by the decddlion of an Indian 
plant, have long been ufed in fjia ; and who 
can foretel what glorious discoveries of other oils, 
roots, and falutary juices, may be made by your 
fociety? If it be doubtful whether the Peruvian 
bark be always efficacious in this country, its 
place may, perhaps, be fupplied by fome indi- 
■genous vegetable equally antifeptick, and more 
congenial to the climate. Whether any trea- 
tifes on Agriculture have been written by ex- 
perienced natives of thefe provinces, I am not 
yet informed ; but fince the court of Spain ex- 



peft to find ufeful remarks in an Arabick tradl 
preferved in the Efcuriah on the cultivation of 
land in that kingdom^ we fliould inquire for 
fimilar compofitions, and examine the contents 
of fuch as we can procure. 

• The fublime fcience of Chymiftiy, which I 
was on the point of calling divine, mull be added, 
as a key to the richell treafurics of nature j and 
it is impoflible to forefee how greatly it may im- 
prove our manufdStures, efpecially if it can fix 
thofe brilliant dyes, which want nothing of per- 
fedl beauty but a longer continuance of their 
fplendourj or how far it may lead to new 
methods of fluxing and compounding metals,' 
which the Indians, as well as the Chinefe, are 
thought to have praclifed in higher perfedlion 
■ than ourfelves. 

In thofe eleganl arts, which are caWedfiie and 
liberal, though of lefs general utility than the 
labours of the mechanick, it is really wonderful 
how much a fingle nation has excelled the whole 
world : I mean the ancient Greeks, whofe Sculp- 
ture, of which we have exquifite remains both 
on gems and in marble, no modern tool can 
equal whofe ArchiteSture we can only imitate 
at a fervile diftance, but are unable to make one 
addition to it, without deftroying its graceful 
. fimplicity; whofe Poetry Hill delights us in 
youth, and amufes us at a maturer age j and of 



whofe Painting and Mujick we have the con- 
current relations of fo many grave autliors, that 
it would be ftrange incredulity to doubt their c.x- 
cellence. Painting, as an art belonging to the 
powers of the imagination, or what is common- 
ly called Genius, appears to be yet in its infancy 
among the people of the Eaft : but the Hindu 
fyftem of miifick has, I believe, been formed on 
truer principles than our own ; and all the fkill 
of the native compofers is diredted to tlie great 
objedt of their art, the natural exprejjion of Jlrong 
pajjtons, to which melody, indeed, is often facri- 
•ficed : though fome of their tunes are pleafmg 
even to an European ear. Nearly the farne may 
be truly ^aflerted of the Jlrahian or Pcrfian fy- 
ftem ; and, by a corredt explanation of the bed 
books on that fubjedt, much of the old Grecian^ 
theory may probably be reco#^ered. 

Hhe poetical works of the Arabs and Per fans, 
which differ furprifingly in their ftyle and form, 
are here pretty generally known ; and, though 
taftes, concerning which there can be no dilput- 
ing, are divided in regal'd to their merit, yet we 
may fafely fay of them, what Abulfazl pro- 
nounces of the Mahdbhdrai, that, “ aithough 
“ they abound with extravagant images and de- 
“ feriptions, they are in the higheft degree enter- 
“ taining and inftrudUve.” Poets of the greateft 
genius, Pijjdar, .dLscHYLU.s, Dante, Pe- 



TRARCA, Shakespear, Spenser, havc moft 
abounded in images not far from the brink of 
abfurdity ; but, if their luxuriant fancies, or 
thofe of Abulola, Firdausi, Niza'mi, were 
pruned away at the hazard of their ftrength and 
majefty, we fhould lofe many pleafures by the 
amputation. If we may form a juft opinion of 
the Sanfcrit poetry from the fpecimens already 
exhibited, (though we can only judge perfedtly 
by confulting the originals), we cannot but thirft 
fpr the whole work of Vya'sa, with which a 
member of our fociety, whofe prefence deters 
me from faying more of him, wnll in due time 
gratify the publick. The poetry of Mathura^ 
which is the ParnaJJian land of the Hindusy has 
a fofter and lefs elevated ftrain ; but, fince the 
.inhabitants of the diftridts near ^gra, and prin- 
cipally of the Duffh, are faid to furpafs all other 
Indians in eloquence, and to have compofed 
many agreeable tales and lovefongs, which are 
ftill extant, the Bbdjbdy or vernacular idiom of 
Vrajay in which they are written, fhould not be 
neglefted. No fpecimens of genuine Oratory 
can be expedled from nations, among whom the 
form of government precludes even the idea of 
popular eloquence ; but the |rt of writing, in 
elegant and modulated periods, has been culti- 
vated in Ajia from the earlieft ages : the Veda's, 
as well as the AJcorofl, are written in meafured 



profe ; and the compofitions of Isocrates are 
not more highly polifhed than thofe of the heft 
Arabian and Perfian authors. 

Of the Hindu and Mufdman archite£lure there 
are yet many noble remains in Bahar^ and fome 
in the vicinity of Malda ; nor am I unwilliug 
to believe, that even thofe ruins, of which you 
will, I truft, be prefented with correft delinea- 
tions, may furnifti our own architefts with new 
ideas of beauty and fublimity. 

Permit me now to add a few words on the 
Sciences, properly fo named ; in which it mull 
be admitted, that the ^Jiaticks, if compared 
with our Weftern nations, are mere children. 
One of the moft fagacious men in this age, who 
continues, I hope, to improve and adorn it, 
Samuel Johnson, remarked in my hearing,* 
that, ‘‘ if Newton had flouriflied in ancient 
“ Greece, he would have been worlhipped as a 
“ divinity how zealoufly then would he be 
adored in Hindujlan, if his incomparable writ- 
ings could be read and comprehended by the 
Pandits of Cajhmir or Benares ! I have feen a 
mathematical book in Sanfcrit of the higheft 
•antiquity; but foon perceived from the dia-* 
grams, that it corvtained only iimple elements : 
there may, indeed, have been, in the favourable 
atmofphere of JJia, fome diligent obfervers of 
the celeilial bodies, and fuch obfervations, as are 



recorded, Ihould indifputably be made publick; 
but let us not exped any new methods, or the 
analyils of new curves, from the geometricians 
of Iran, Turkijian, or Indii7. Could the works 
of Archjmkdes, the Newton of Sicily, be 
raftered to their genuine purity by the help of 
Jlrahick verfions, .we might then have reafon to 
triumph on the fuccefs of our fcientifical inqui- 
ries ; or could the fuccellivc improvements and 
various rules of Algebra be traced through Ara- 
bian channels, to which Cardan boalled that 
he had accefs, the modern Hiftory of Maihema- 
ticks would receive confiderable illuftration. 

'J’he Jurifprudence of the Hindus and Muf el- 
mans will produce more immediate advantage ; 
and, if fome ftandard lazc-traAs were accurately 
■ tranflated from the Sanferit and Arabick, we 
might hope in time to fee fo complete a Digeft 
of Indian Laws, that all difputes among the na- 
tives might be decided without uncertainty, which 
is in truth a difgrace, though fatirically called a 
glory, to the forenlick fcience. 

All thefe objects of inquiry muft appear to 
you, Gentlemen, in fo ftrong a light, that bare 
intimations of them will be fufKcient ; nor is it 
neceflary to make ufe of emula,tion as an incentive 
to an ardent purfuit of them : yet I cannot for- 
bear exprelfing a wilh, that the activity of the 
French in the fame purfuits may not be fuperior 


to ours, and that the refearches of M. Son- 
NERAT, whom the court of employed 

for feven years in thefe climates, merely to 
colled: fuch materials as we are feeking, may 
kindle, inftcad of abating, our own curiofity 
and zeal. If you aflent, as I flatter myfelf you 
do, to thefe opinions, you iVill alfo concur in 
promoting the objed of them ; and a few ideas 
having prefented themfelves to my mind, I pre- 
fume to lay them before you, with an entire 
fubmiflion to your judgement. 

No contributions, except thofe of the literary 
kind, will be requifite for the fupport of the fo- 
ciety ; but, if each of us were occafionally to 
contribute a fuccind defeription of fuch manu- 
feripts as he had perufed or infpeded, with their 
dates and the names of their owners, and* tcT 
propofg for folution fuch quejtions as had occur- 
red to him concerning yljiatick Art, Science, and 
Hiftory, natural or civil, we fhould pofTefs with- 
out labour, and almoft by imperceptible degrees, 
a fuller catalogue of Oriental books, than has 
hitherto been exhibited, and our correfpondents 
would be apprifed of thofe points, to which we 
chiefly dired our inveftigations. Much may, 
I am confident, be expeded from the communi- 
cations of learned natives ^ whether lawyers, phy- 
ficians, or private fcholars, who would eagerly, 
on the firft invitation, fend Us their Mekdmdt 



snd HifdJahs on a variety of fubjedtsj fame for 
the fake of advancing general knowledge^ but 
moft of them from a defirc, neither uncommon 
nor unreafonable, of attrading notice, and re- 
commending themfelves to favour. With a 
view to avail ourfelves of this difpofition, and 
to bring their latent fcience under our inlpedion, 
it might be advifable to print and circulate a 
(hort memorial, in Perjian and Hindis fetting 
forth, in a ftyle accommodated to their own ha- 
bits and prejudices, the defign of our inftitution; 
nor would it be impoflible hereafter, to give a 
medal annually, with infcriptions in Perjian on 
one fide, and on the reverfe in Sanfcrit^ as the 
prize of merit, to the writer of the beft eflay or 
diflertation. To inftrud others is the prefcribed 
duty of learned Brahmans^ and, if they be men 
of fubftance, without reward ; but they would 
all be flattered with an honorary mark of dif- 
tindion; and the Mahomedans have not only 
the permifllon, but the pofitive command, of 
their law-giver, to Jearcb for learmng even in the 
remotejl parts of the globe. It were fuperfluous 
to fugged, with how much corrednefs and fa- 
cility their compofitions might be tranflated for 
our ufe, dnce their languages are now more ge- 
nerally and perfedly underdood than they have 
ever been by any nation of Europe. 

I have detained you, I fear, too long by this 



addrefs, though it has been my endeavour to 
reconcile comprehenfiveneis with brevity ; the 
fubje£ts, which I have lightly fketched, would 
be found, if minutely examined, to be inexhauf- 
tible ; and, fince no limits can be fet to your rc- 
fearches but the boundaries of y^/ia kfelf^I may 
not improperly conclude with wifliing for your 
fociety, what the Commentator on the Laws, 
prays for the conftitution, of our country, that 






In the formei* difcourfes, which I had the ho- 
nour of addrefling to you, Gentlemen, on tlie 


hijliiution and objcMs of our Society, I conlined 
myfelf purpofcly to general topicks; giving in 
the firft a diflant profpe£t of the vail career, on 
•which we were entering, and, in the fecond, ex- 
hibiting a more ^difFufe, but llill fupcrficial, 
Iketch of the various difeoveries in Hiftoiv, 
Science, and Art, which we might juftly expedt 
from our inquiries into the literature of AJia, 
I now propofe to fill up that outline fo com- 
prchenfively as to omit nothing elTential, yet fo 
concifely as to avoid being tedious ; and, if the 
ftate of my health lhall fuffer me to continue 
long enough in this climate, .it is my defign, 
with your permilfion, to prepare for our annual 
meetings a feries of Ihort dilTertations, uncon- 
neded in their titles and fubjeds, but all tending 



to a common point of no fmall importance in 
the purfuit of intcrcfting truths. 

Of all the works, which h;ivc been publilhed 
in our own age, or, perhaps, in any other, on 
the Iliftory of the Ancient World, and the jirjl 
populalion of ibis habitable (fbt by, th at oJF^Mk. 
j.ACOF. Bryant, whom I nanie with reverence 
and affection, ha? the heft claim to the praife of 
deep erudition ingenioully^ applied, and new 
theories happily illuflratcd^by an aO'emblage of 
numberltfs converging rays from a moft exten- 
fivc circumference ; it falls,yfcvcrtbelcfs, as cycry 
human work mull fall, fhort of perfection ; and 
the loaft iiitisfaCtory part of it feems to be that, 
which relates to the derivation of words from 
AJidlick languages. Etymology has, no doubt, 
foHje ufe in hiftorical refearches ; but it is a me- 
diuni of jproof fo very fallaciotfs, that, where it 
cluyi^ates one faCl, it obfcurcs a thoufand, and 
n\ore^frequently borders on the ridiculous, than 
leads to any folid conclufion : it rarely carries 
with it any internal power of conviction from a 
refemblance of founds or fimilarity of letters ; 
yet often, where it is wholly unaffillcd by thofe 
advantages, it may be indifputably proved by 
extrinjick evidence- We know a pojlerioriy that 
both^^s: and hijo, by the nature of two feveral 
dialects, are derived from Jilius-, that uncle comes 
from avus, and Jlrane^er frotn extra ; that jour 


is dedudble, through the Italian^ from diesi and 
rojjignol from lufchiia^ or the finger in groves \ 
that Jciuro^ ecureuil^ and fquirrel are compounded 
of two Greek words defcriptive of the animal ; 
which etymologies, though they could not have 
been demonfl rated a priori^ might ferve to con- 
firm, if any fuch confirmation were neceflfary, 
the proofs of a connedtion between the mem- 
bers of one great Empire ; but, when we derive 
our banger y or fioiL pendent /wordy from the 
Perfatiy becaufe ignorant travellers thus mis- 
fpell the word khanjoTy which in truth means 
a different weapon, or Jandal-wood from the 
Greek, becaufe we fuppofe, that fandals were 
fometimes made of it, we gain no ground in 
proving the affinity of nations, and only weaken 
arguments, which might otherwife be firrnly 
fupported. That Cu's then, or, as it, certainly 
is written in one ancient dialedl, Cu'r, artJ* in 
others, probably, Ca's, enters into the-cori- 
pofition of many proper names, we may very 
reafonably believe; and that Algeziras takes its 
name from the Arabick word for an if and, can- 
not be doubted; but, when vre are told from 
Europe, that places and provinces in India were 
clearly denominated from thofe words, we can- 
not but obferve, in the fir ft inftance, that the 
town, in which we now are alTembled, is pro- 
perly written and -pronounced Calicdta-, that 


2 ' 

both Cdtd and Cut unqueflionably mean places 
of Jlrength, or, in general, any inclofarcs ; and 
that Gujarat is at leaft as remote from jezirah 
in found, as it is in fituation. 

Another exception (and a third could hardly 
be difeovered by any candid criticilm) to the 
Analyjis of Ancient MytboIogy,}fs~^iiCt^)nelhod 
of reafoning and arrangement of topicks adopted 
in that learned work are nwt quite agreeable to 
the title, but almoft whqSy fyntbctical-, and, 
though fyntbefis may be the better mode in pure 
fcience, where the principle are undeniable, yet 
it feems lefs calculated«t» give complete fatis- 
fadbion in bijlorical difquifitions, where every 
poftulatum will perhaps be refufed, and every 
definition controvei'ted : this may feem a flight 
G^edtion, but the fubjeift is in itfelf fo intereft- 
ing^nd the full convidtion of jill reafonable men 
fo durable, that it may not be loft labour to dif- 
QuiC ^e fame or a fimilar theory in a method 
finely analytical, and, after beginning with fadts 
of general notoriety or undifputed evidence, to 
inveftigate fuch truths, as are at firft unknown 
or very imperfedtly difeerned. 

, The five principal nations, who have in dif- 
ferent ages divided among themfelves, as a kind 
of inheritance, the vaft continent of Afia, with 
the many iflands depending on it, are the In- 
dians^ the Chinefe, the Tartars, the Arabs, and 

VQL. I. E 



the Pcrjians : xvho they feverally were, ivhenci 
and U'hen they came, ivbere they now are fet- 
tled, and ivbat advanlage a more perfedt know- 
ledge of them all may bring to our European 
world, will be fliown, I trull, in Jive dillindl 
efl'ays ; the lall of which will deinonftrate the 
connexion of dn'qrfity between them, and folve 
the great problem,\ whether they had any com- 
mon origin, and vniether that origin was the 
fame, which we generally aferibe to them. 

I begin with India, not becaufe I find reafon 
to believe it the tru? centre of population or of 
knowledge, but, becaull it is the country, which 
we now inhabit, and from which we may bell 
furvey the regions around us; as, in popular 
language, wc fpeak of the rifing fun, and of his 
progrejs through the Zodiac k, although it had 
long ago been ipiagined, and is now derion- 
llratod, that he is himfelf the centre of oui ^pla- 
netary fyftcm. Let me here premife, that in 
all thefe inquiries concerning the hiftory of I'^dta, 

I fliall confine my refearches downwards to the 
Mohammedan conquefts at the beginning of .the 
eleventh century, but extend them upwards, as 
high as poflible, to the earlieft authentick records 
of the human fpecies. 

India then, on its moll enlarged fcale, in 
vVhich the ancients appear to have underftood it, 
comprifes an ar,ea of neds forty degrees on each 



fide, including a fpace aimoft as large as all 
Europe i being divided on the weft from Pcrfia. 
by the Arachofian mountains, limited on the caft 
by the Chinefe part of the farther peninfula, con- 
fined on the north by the wilds of Tartary, and 
extending to the fouth as far as the ifles of yflva- 
This trapezium, therefore, comprehends the ftu- 
pendous hills of Potyid or jtibet, the beautiful 
valley of Cajlimir, and allMhc domains of the 
old Indofcytbians , the coAtries of Nepal and 
Butdnt, Cdmritp or AJdm, together with Siam, 
Ava, Racan, and the boi^cring kingdoms, as 
far as the China of the Ilfmlus or Sin of the Ara- 
bian Geographers; not to mention the whole 
weftern peninfula with the celebrated ifland of 
Sinbala, or Lion-like men, at its fouthern ex- 
tw^ity. By’ India, in Ihort, I mean that whole 
ext^t of country, in which the primitive fe- 
ligi^ and languages of the Hindus prevail at 
-tpiU^c^y with more or lefs of their ancient pu- 
‘rityi’ and in which the Ndgari letters are ftill 
ufcd with more or lefs deviation from their 
original form. 

The Hindus themfelves believe their own 
country, to which they give the vain epithets of 
Medbyama or Central, and Punyabhumi, or the 
Land ^ Virtues, to have been the portion of 
Bharat, one of nine brothers, whofe father had 
the dominion of the whole ^art]} j and they rc- 

E 2 


prefent the mountains of Himalaya as lying to 
the north, and, to the weft, thofe of Vindhya^ 
called alfo V Indian by the Greeks \ beyond which 
the Sindhu runs in feveral branches to the fea, 
and meets it nearly oppofite to the point of 
Dimracdy the celebrated feat of their Shepherd 
God •^n\X\ieJ(nuh:-eaJl they place the great river 
Saraiuitya ; by wh\^h they probably mean that 
of ^va, called alfo J^rdvati in part of its courfe, 
and giving perhaps ^ ancient name to the gulf 
of Sahara. This d/tmain of Bharat they con- 
lldcr as the middle the 'Jamhudtvipa, which 
the Tibetians alfo call iLe Land of Zambu ; and 
the appellation is extremely remarkable ; 'for 
Jambu is the Sanferit name of a delicate fruit 
called ydtnan by the Mufelmans, and by us rqfe~ 
apple ; but the largeft and richeft fort is named 
Amrita, or Immortal', and the Mythologies of 
Tibet apply the fame word to a celeftial ^.ree 
bearing ambrojial fruit, and adjoining to ^ mr 
vaft rocks, from which as many facred rivers 
derive their feveral ftreams. 

The inhabitants of this extenfive tra£l: are de- 
feribed by Mr. Lord with great exadtnefs, and 
with a pidlurefque elegance peculiar to our an- 
cient language : “ A people, fays he, prefented 
“ themfelves to mine eyes, clothed in linen gar- 
“ ments fomewhat low defeending, of a gefture 
“ and garb, as I may fay, maidenly and well 



“ nigh efFeminate, of a countenance fliy and 
“ fomewhat eftranged, yet fmiling out a glozed 
“ and balhful familiarity.” Mr. Oume, tlie 
Hiftorian of India, who unites an exquifite taRe 
for every fine art with an accurate knowledge of 
jJJiatick manners, obferves, in his elegant pre- 
liminary Differtation, that Hds “ country has 
“ been inhabited from the jirarlieR antiquity by 
“ a people, who have no ittemblance, either in 
“ their figure or manners* with any of the na- 
“ tions contiguous to them,’) and that, “ although 
“ conquerors have eftablifl^d themfclves at dif- 
“ ferent times in differ^^Fl^arts of India, yet the 
“ cJriginal inhabitants have loft very little of 
“ their original chara6ler.” The ancients, in 
faft, give a defeription of them, which our early 
‘"‘Rwvellers confirmed, and our own perfonal knq,w- 
led^ of them nearly verifies « as yotfwTirper- 
cei^ from a pafllige in the Geographical Poem 
‘ qf I^P^ONYSius, which the Analyft of Ancient 
' Mythology has tranflated with great fpirit : 

** To th’ eaft a lovely country wide extends, 

“ India, whofc borders the wide ocean bounds \ 
On this the fun, new riling from the main. 
Smiles pleas’d, and flieds his early orient beam, 
“ I'h’ inhabitants are fwart, and in their locks 
** Betray the tints 'of the dark hyacinth. 

‘‘ Various their functions; fome the rock explore. 
And from the mine extradl the latent gold ; 
Some labour at the woof w^th cunning Ikill, 



And manufafture linen ; others fliapc 
And polifli iv’ry with the niceft care: 

‘‘ Many retire to rivers fhoal, and plunge 
To leek the beryl flaming in its bed, 

Or glirt’ring diamond. Oft the jafper's found 
Greer], but diaphanous ; the topaz too 
‘‘ Of ray ferene and pleafing ; lad of all 
*^TixJ*To^r}y^ii^thyfl;, in M'hich combine 

All the mild fli^es of purple. The rich foil, 

“ Wafli’d by a thoimnd rivers, from all fides 
Pours on the nati^> wealth without control.” 

Their fourccs of /Wealth are ftill abundant 
even after fo many Tevolutions and conquefts; 
in their manufadiur^o^cotton they flill furpafs 
all the world ; and their features have, moll 
probably, remained unaltered fince the time of 
Diokyshts ; nor can we reafonably doubt, how 
degenerate and abafed fo ever the Hindus may 
nor’; appear, that in fome early age they wjfe 
fplendid in arts and arms, happy in govfrnt(ient, 
wnfe in legiflation, and eminent in various knt.w- 
Icdge: but, lincc their civil hiftory beyohdOh^ 
middle of the nineteaitb century from the pre- 
fent time, is involved in a cloud of fables, we 
feem to poffcfs ov\j four general media of fatis- 
fying our curiofity concerning it ; namely, firft, 
their Languages and Letters-, fecondly, their 
Philofophy and Religion thirdly, the adlual re- 
mains of their old Sculpture and Architedture ; 
and fourthly, the written memorials of their 
Sciences and Arts. > 


I, It is much to be lamented, that neither the 
Greeks, who attended Alexandi.r into India, 
nor thole who were long connected with it 
under the Ba^riaii Princes, have left us any 
means of knowing with accuracy, what verna- 
cular languages they found on their arrival in 
this Empire. T he Mobanwedans, we know, 
heard the people of proper or India 

on a limited fcale, fpeakini^jf a Bbdjbd, or living 
tongue of a very lingular cVnllrudtion, the purcll 
dialed! of which was cuirent in the dillridls 
round Agra, and chiefly the poetical ground 
of Mafburd; and thy^^s commonly called the 
idiom of Vraja. F'ive words in fix, perhaps, of 
this language were derived from the Satifcrii^ 
in which books of religion and fcience were com- 
‘^W'ed, and which appears to have been foriped • 
by cxquHite grammatical tlie 

n^r-iric itfelf implies, from fome unpolilheJ idiom; 

^^le hafis of the Ilnidujhhiiy particularly the 
inflexions and regimen of verbs, dilTercd as 
widely from both tliol'e tongues, as /Ircibich 
difters from Pcrfiiuiy or Gcnnati from Greek. 
Now the general eiTe£l of coiupicd is to leave 
•the current language of the conquered peojde 
unchanged, or ve^y little altered, in its ground- 
work, but to blend witli it a confiderablc number 
of exotick names both for things and for a(dions ; 
as it has happened in every Gentry, that I can 



recollef^^, where the conquerors have not pre- 
ferved their own tongue unmixed with that of 
the natives, like the Turks in Greece, and the 
Saxons in Britain ; and this analogy might in- 
duce us to believe, that the pure Hindi, whether 
of. Tariarjan or Chaldean origin, was primeval 
in Upper India, 'into which the Sanferit was 
introduced by con^crors from, other kingdoms 
in fome very remot^age ; for we cannot doubt 
that the language ofithe Veda’s was ufed in the 
great extent of couiyry, which has before been 
delineated, as long^X^the religion of Brahma 
has prevailed in it. 

The Sanferit language, whatever be its anti- 
quity, is of a wonderful ftrudlurc ; more perfe£l 
than the Greek, more copious than the Latin, 
and more exquifitely refined than either, ySt 
bearing to‘ both of them a ftronger affinity, [ooth 
in the roots of verbs and in the forms of g^api- 
mar, than could poflibly have been produc«df^ bi 
accident ; fo ftrong indeed, that no philologer 
could examine them all three, without believing 
them to have fprung from fome common fource, 
which, perhaps, no longer exifts : there is a 
fimilar reafon, though not quite fo forcible, for 
fuppofing that both the Gotbick and the Cellick, 
though blended with a very different idiom, had 
the fame origin with the Sanferit ; and the old 
Berjian might be added to the fame family, if 



this were the place for difcufling any queftion 
concerning the antiquities of Peijia. 

The charaBers, in which the languages of In- 
dia were originally written, are called Ndgariy 
from Nagara, a city with the word Deva fomc- 
times prefixed, becaufe they are believed to have 
been taught by the Divinity himfelf, who prc- 
fcribed the artificial order e/f them in a voice 
from heaven. Thefe lettf^s, with no greater 
variation in their form by bne change of ftraight 
lines to curves, or converllbly, than the Cujick 
alphabet has received in i*^ way to Indian are 
vftill adopted in more tj^^i twenty kingdoms and 
ftates, from the borders of Cajhgar and Khoten, 
to Rama's bridge, and from the Sindhu to the 
river of Siam; nor can I help believing, al- 
though the poliflied and elegant Devandgari . 
may not be fo ancient as the.momjmehtal cha- 
radlers in the caverns of Jarafandha, that the 
‘■fquare Chuldaick letters, in which moft Hebrew 
books are copied, were originally the fame, or 
derived from the fame prototype, both with the 
Indian and Arabian characters: that the Pbe- 
niciuny from which the Greek and Roman al- 
• phabets were formed by various changes and 
inverfions, had a^fimilar origin, there can be 
little doubt; and the inferiptions at Candrahy of 
which you now poffefs a moft accurate copy, 
feetn to be compounded of Npgari and Eihio- 



pick letters, which bear a clofe relation to each 
other, both in the mode of writing from the 
left hand, and in the lingular manner of con- 
ncdxing the vowels with the confonants. Thefe 
remarks may favour an opinion entertained by 
many, that all the fymbols of found, which at 
firft, probably, w.cre only rude outlines of the 
different organs of Ipeech, had a common origin : 
the fymbols of now ufed in China and 

'Japan, and formerly, perhaps, in F^gypt and 
Mexico, are quite o:^ a diftindl nature ; but it is 
very remarkable, thfe< the order oi founds in the 
Cbinefc grammars corresponds nearly with that 
obferved in Tibet, and hardly differs from that, 
which the Hindus confider as the invention of 
their Gods. 

n. Of the Indian Religion and Philofophy, 1 
fhair* TTerS'-foy- but little ; becaufe a full account 
of each would require a feparate volume : it will 
be fufficient in this differtatiou to affume, what 
might be proved beyond controverfy, that we 
now live among the adorers of thofe very deities, 
who were worfhipped under different names in 
old Greece and Italy, and among the profeffors 
of thofe philofophical tenets, which the lonick 
and Atlick writers illudrated vyith all the beauties 
of their melodious language. On one hand we 
fee the trident of Neptune, the eagle of Jupi- 
ter, the fatyrs o^^Bj^cchus, the bow of Cupid, 



and the chariot of the Sun ; on another we hear 
the cymbals of Rhka, the fongs of the Mufes^ 
and the paftoral tales of Apollo Nomius. In 
more retired fcenes, in groves, and in feminaries 
of learning, we may perceive the Brnbnians and 
the Sarmanes, mentioned by Clemens, dis- 
puting in the forms of logick, or difcourfing on 
the vanity of human enjoyments, on the im- 
mortality of the foul, her emanation from the 
eternal mind, her debafentent, wanderings, and 
final union with her fourcl The Jix philofo- 
phical Schools, whpfe prirViples are explained 
the DerJiVia <S'<7/?r^‘'1ibyiprife all the meta- 
phyficks of the old Academy^ the Sioa^ th'e Ly- 
ceum ; nor is it poflible to read the Feddnta, or 
the many fine compofitions in illuftration of it, 
without believing, that Pythagoras and Pla- 
to derived their Sublime theories fpom thtf lame 
fountain with the Sages of India. The Scythian 
'and Hyperborean dodlrines and mythology may 
alfo be traced in every part of theSc eallern re- 
gions ; nor can we doubt, that Won or Oden, 
whoSe religion, as the northern hiftorians admit, 
was introduced into Scandinavia by a foreign 
•race, was the fame with Buddh, whofe rites 
were probably imported into^ India nearly at 
the fame time, though received much later by 
the Chinefe, who Soften his name into FO'. 

^ This may be a proper place to aScertain an 



important point in the Chronology of the Hin- 
dus', for the priefts of Buddha left in Tibet 
and China the precife epoch of his appearance, 
real or imagined, in this Empire ; and their in- 
formation, which had been preferved in writing, 
was compared by the Chrijlian Miflionaries and 
fcholars with our own era. Couplet, De 
Guignes, Giorgi, and Bailly, differ a little 
in their accounts of this epoch, but that of 
Couplet feems the moll corred: on taking, how- 
ever, the medium of the four feveral dates, we 
may fix the time of^UDDHA, or the ninth great 
incarnation of the year one thoufand 

and fourteen before the birth of Christ, or two 
thoufand /even hundred and ninety-nine years 
ago. Now the Cdjhmirians, who boaft of his 
defcent in their kingdom, alfert that he appeared 
on'^oa^th- ^l^ut two centuries after Crishna 
the Indian Apollo, who took fo decided a part 
in the war of the Mahdbhdrat and, if an Ety-: 
mologift were to fuppofe, that the Athenians had 
embellifhed their poetical hiftory of Pa nd ion’s 
expulfion and the reftoration of iEGEUs with 
the JJiatick tale of the Pa ndus and Yud- 
HisHTiR, neither of which words they could 
have articulated, I fhould not hallily deride his 
conjedure : certain it is, that Pdndumandel is 
called by the Greeks the country of Pandion. 
We have, therefore, determined another intereft- 



ing epoch, by fixing the age of Crisiina near 
the tJyree thoufandth year from the prefent time ; 
and, as the three firft Avatars, or defcents of 
Vishnu, relate no lefs clearly to an Univerfal 
Deluge, in which eight perfons only were faved, 
than the /owrf/) and Jiftb do to the punijhment of 
impiety and the humiliation of the proud, we may 
for the prefent alTume, that the fecoitd, or Jilver, 
age of the Hindus was fubfcquent to the dif- 
perfion from Babel •, fo that we have only a 
dark interval of about a thoufand years, which 
were employed in the fettleiViit of nations, the 
'foundation of ftates orseinpires, and the cul- 
tivation of civil focicty. The great intarnate 
Gods of this intermediate age are both named 
Rama but with different epithets ; one of whom 
•bears a wonderful refemblance to the Indian 
Bacchus, and his wars arethe,fubjeQ;<»f fcveral 
heroick poems. He is reprefented as a dcfcend- 
pnt from Su'rya, or the Sun, as the hufband of 
Si'ta', and the fon of a princefs named Cau'- 
SELYA : it is very remarkable, that the Peru- 
vians, whofe Incas boafted of the fame defcent, 
ftyled their greateft feftival Ramafitoa ; whence 
we may fuppofe, that South America was peopled 
by the fame race, who imported into the far- 
theft parts of Ajia the rites and ’fabulous hiftory 
of Ra'ma. Thefe rites and this hiftory are ex- 
tremely curious ; and, althoygh f cannot believe 



with Newton, that ancient mythology was 
nothing but hiftorical truth in a poetical drefs, 
nor, with Bacon, that it confifted folely of 
moral and metaphyfical allegories, nor with 
Bryant, that all the heathen divinities are 
only different attributes and reprefentations of 
the Sun or of deceafed progenitors, but conceive 
that the whole fyftem of religious fables rofe, 
like the Nile, from feveral diftin£l; fources, yet I 
cannot but agree, that one great fpring and 
fountain of all idolatry in the four quarters of 
the globe was the>(veneration paid by men to 
the vaft body of fire, ^hich “ looks from his 
foie dominion like the God of this world;’* 
and another, the immoderate refpedt fhown to 
the memoi-y of powerful or virtuous anceftors, 
efpecially the founders of kingdoms, legiflators, 
and>* warriors,, of, whom the Sun or the Moon 
were wildly fuppofed to be the parents.* 

III. The remains of archite^ure and fculpture. 
in India, which I mention here as mere monu- 
ments of antiquity, not as fpecimens of ancient 
art, feem to prove an early connedtion between 
this country and Africa : the pyramids of Egypt, 
the coloffal ftatues deferibed by Pausanias and 
others, the fphinx, and the Hermes Cams, which 
laft bears a great refemblance to the F ardhdvatdr, 
or the incarnation of Vishnu in the form of a 
Boar, indicate the Ijtyle and mythology of the 



fame indefatigable workmen, who formed the 
vaft excavations of Cdndrab, the various temples 
•and images of Buddha, and the idols, which 
are continually dug up at Gaydy or in its vi- 
cinity. The letters on many of thofe monu- 
ments appear, as I have before lirtlmated, partly 
of Indian, and partly of Abyjjhuan or ElLiopick, 
origin ; and all thefe indubitable fadls may in- 
duce no ill -grounded opinion, that Elhiopia and 
Hindiijldn were peopled or colonized by the 
fame extraordinary race ; in confirmation of 
which, it may be added, tl^t the mountaineers 
of Bengal and Babiir c^n hardly be diftinguifh- 
cu .in fome of their features, particularly.their 
lips and nofes, from the modern AhyJJmians, 
whom the Arabs call the children of Cu sh : and 
the ancient Hindus, according to Strabo, dif- 
fered in nothing from the Afrkans, hut in the 
ftraitnefs* and fmoothnefs of their hair, while 
that of the others was crifp or woolly ; a differ- 
ence proceeding chiefly, if not entirely, from the 
refpedtive humidity or drynefs of their atmo- 
fphercs: hence the people who received tbejirfl 
light oj tbe rijing fun, according to the limited 
knowledge of the ancients, are faid by Apuleius 
to be the Aru and Ethiopians, by which he 
clearly meant certain nations of Ifidia ; where 
we frequently fee figures of Buddha with 


curled hair apparently defigned for a repre- 
fentation of it in its natural ftate. 

IV. It is unfortunate, that the Silpi Sajlra, or 
colledlion of treatifes on Arts and Manufa^ures, 
which muft have contained a treafure of ufeful 
information on dying, painting, and metallurgy, 
has been fo long neglecfled, that few, if any, 
traces of it are to be found ; but the labours of 
the Indian loom and needle have been univer- 
fally celebrated ; andj^/ze linen is not improbably 
fuppofcd to have been called Sindon, from the 
name of the river pear which it was wrought in 
the higheft perfedion^ the people of Colchis 
were alfo famed for this manufadure, and, the 
Egyptians yet more, as we learn from feveral 
paflages in fcripture, and particularly from a 
beautiful chapter in Ezekial containing the 
moft authentick delineation of ancient com- 
merce, of which Tyre had been the ' principal 
mart. Silk was fabricated immemorially by the 
Indians, though commonly afcribed to the peo- 
ple of Serica or Tanciit, among whom probably 
the word Ser, which the Greeks applied to the 
Jilk-worm, fignified gold ; a fenfe, which it now 
bears in Tihet. That the Hindus were in early 
ages a commercial people, we have many reafons 
to believe ; and in the firft of their facred law- 
trads, which they fuppofe to have been revealed 


hy Menu many millions of years ago, we find 
a curious paflage on the legal interejl of money, 
and the limited rate of it in different cafes, with 
an exception in regard to adventures at fea ; an 
exception, which the fenfe of mankind approves, 
and which commerce abfolutely requires, though 
it was not before the reign of Charles I. that 
our own jurifprudence fully admitted it in re- 
fpe£t of maritime contra£t8. 

We are told by the Grecian writers, that the 
Indians were the wifeft of nations ; and in moral 
wifdom, they were certainly eminent : their 
Niti Sdjlra, or Syjleni of Etbicks^ is yet pre- 
ferved, and the Fables of Vishnuserman, 
whom we ridiculoufly call Pilpay, are the moft 
beautiful, if not the moft ancient, colleilion 
of apologues in the world : they were firft trans- 
lated from the Sanferit, in the ^xtb century, by 
the order of Buzerchumihr, or Bright as the 
Sun^ the chief phyfician and afterwards Fezir of 
the great An u'shireva'n, and are extant under 
various names in more than twenty languages ; 
but their original title is Hitopadefa^ or Amicable 
liiflruStion •, and, as the very exiftence of Esop, 
whom the Arabs believe to have been an Abyf-^ 
Jinian, appears rather doubtful, I am not difin- 
dined to fuppofe, that the firft moral fables, 
which appeared in Europe, were of Indian or 
Ethiopian origin. 

VOL. 1 . 



The Hindus are faid to have boalied of three 
inventions, all of which, indeed, are admirable, 
the method of inftrudting by apolt^ues, the 
decimal fcale adopted now by all civilized na- 
tions, and the game of Chefs^ on which they 
have fome curious treatifes ; but, if their numer- 
ous works on Grammar, Logick, Rhetorick, 
Miifiek, all which are extant and acceflible, were 
explained in fome language generally known, 
it would be found, that they had yet higher pre- 
tenlions to the praife of a fertile and inventive 
genius. Their lighter Poems are lively and ele- 
gant j their Epick, magnificent and fublime in 
the higheft degree j their Purdna's comprife a 
feries of mythological Hiftories in blank verfc 
from the Creation to the fuppofed incarnation of 
Buddha; and their Vedas, as far as we can 
judge from that 'compendium of them, which is 
called UpaniJljat, abound with noble fpeculations 
in mctaphyficks, and fine difeourfes on the being 
and attributes of God. Their moft ancient me- 
dical book, entitled Chereca, is believed to be the 
work of Siva ; for each of the divinities in their 
Triad has at leall one facred compofition af- 
cribed to him ; but, as to mere human works on 
Hijl(fy and Geography, thojigh they are faid to 
be wtant in Cajbmtr, it has not been yet in my 
power to procure them. What their ajlrono-^ 
mical and mathematical writings contain, will 



not, I trail, remain long a fecret : they are eafily 
procured, and their importance cannot be doubt- 
ed. The Philofopher, whole works are laid to 
include a fyiiem of the uhiverTe founded on the 
principle of Attraction and the Central pofition 
of the fun, is named Yavan Acha'rya, bccaufe 
he had travelled, we are told, into Ionia : if this 
be true, he might have been one of thole, who 
converfed with Pythagoras ; this at leaft is 
undeniable, that a book on aftronomy in Saii- 
fcrit bears the title of Xavaiia ydtica, which may 
lignify the lojiic SeCt ; nor iS it improbable, that 
the names of the planets and Zodiacal ftars, 
which the Arabs borrowed from the Greeks, but 
which we find in the oldeft Indian records, were 
originally devifed by the fame ingenious and en- 
terprifing race, from whom both Greece and ’ 
India were peopled j the race*, who, Ls Diony- 
sius deferibes them, 

— — ‘ firft aflayed the deep, 

‘ And wafted merchandize to coafts unknown, 

* Thofe, who digefted (irfl the flarry choir, 

‘ Their motions mark’d, and call’d them by their names.’ 

Of thefe curfory obfervations on the Hindus, 
which it would require volumps to expand and 
illuftrate, this is the refult : that they had an im- 
memorial affinity with the old Perjians, Ethio- 
pians, and Egyptians, the Phenicians, Greeks, 


and Tufcans, the Scythians or Gotbs^ and Celts^ 
the Chinefe^ Japanefe^ and Peruvians ; whence, 
as no reafon appears for believing, that they 
were a colony from any one of thofe nations, or 
any of thofe nations from them, we may fairly 
conclude that they all proceeded from fome 
central country, to inveftigate which will be the 
obje«fl of my future Difcourfes ; and I have a 
fanguine hope, that your colledlions during the 
prefent year will bring to light many ufeful dis- 
coveries ; although the departure for Europe of 
a very ingenious member, who firft opened the 
ineftimable mine of Sanferit literature, will often 
deprive us of accurate and folid information con- 
cerning the languages and antiquities of India, 







I HAD the honour laft year of opening to 
you my intention, to difcourfe at our annual 
meetings on the Jive principal nations, , who 
have peopled the continent and iflands of Ajia; 
fo as to trace, by an hiftorical and philological 
analyfis, the number of ancient ftems, from 
which thofe five branches have feverally fprung, 
and the central region, from which they appear 
to have proceeded : you may, therefore, expert, 
that, having fubmitted to your confideration a few 
general remarks on the old inhabitants of hidia^ 
I fhould npw offer ray fentiments on fome other 
nation, who, from a fimilarity of language^ reli- 
gion, arts, and manners, may be fuppofed to have 
had an early connection with the Hindus but, 
fince we find fom& yijiatick nations totally difli- 
milar to them in all or moft of thofe particulars, 
and fince the difference will ftrike you more 
forcibly by an immediate and clofe comparilbn. 



I defign at prefent to give a fliort account of a 
wonderful people, who feem in every refpedl fo 
ftrongly contrafted to the original natives of this 
country, that they muft have been for ages a 
dillindt and feparate race. 

For the purpofe of thefe difcourfes, I con- 
fidered India on its largeft fcale, defcribing it as 
lying between Perfia and China^ Tartary and 
yava ; and, for the fame purpofe, I now apply 
the name of Arabia^ as the Arabian Geographers 
often apply it, to that extenfive Peninfula, 
which the Red Sea divides from Africa, the 
great Ajfyrian river from Iran, and of which the 
Erythrean Sea walhes the bafe ; without ex- 
cluding any part of its weftern fide, which would 
be completely maritime, if no ifthmus intervened 
between the Mediterranean, and the Sea of 
Kolzom: that country in fliort. I call Arabia, in 
which the Arabick language and letters, or fuch 
as have a near affinity to them, have been im- 
memorially current. 

Arabia, thus divided from India by a vaft 
ocean, or at leaft by a broad bay, could hardly 
have been connefted in any degree with this 
country, until navigation and commerce had 
been confiderably improved f yet, as the Hindus 
jmd the people of Temen were both commercial 
nations in a very early age, they were probably 
the firft inllruments of conveying to the weftern 



world the gold, ivory, and perfumes of Iiuh’ay 
as well as the fragrant wood, called Mluwzva in 
yfrabick and aguru in Sanfcrit, which grows in 
the greateft perfection in vlnam or Cochiuchina. 
It is poffible too, that a part of the Arabian Ido- 
latry might have been derived from the fame 
fource with that of the Hindus ; but fuch an in- 
tercourfe may be confidered as partial and acci- 
dental only ; nor am I more convinced, than I 
was fifteen years ago, when I took the liberty 
to animadvert on a paffage in the Hiftory of 
Prince Kantemir, that the Turks have any 
juft reafon for holding the coaft of Temen to be 
a part of India, and calling its inhabitants l^ellow 

The Arabs have never been entirely fubdued ; 
nor has any impreflion been made on them, ex- 
cept on their borders ; where, indeed, the Phe- 
nicians, Perfums, Ethiopians, Egyptians, and, in 
modern times, the Othmdn Tartars, have fc- 
verally acquired fettlements but, with thefe 
exceptions, the natives of Hejdz and Temen have 
preferved for ages the foie dominion of their 
deferts and pafturcs, their mountains and fertile 
• valleys : thus, apart from the reft of mankind, 
this extraordinary people have retained their 
primitive manners and language, features and 
character, as long and as remarkably as the 
Hindus themfelves. All the genuine Arabs of 


Syrid whom I knew in Europe, thofe of Temen, 

whom I faw in the We of lEnZudn, whither 
many had come from for the purpofe of 

trade, and tbofe of Hejdz, whom I have met in 
Bernal, form a ftriking contraft to the Hindu 
inhabitants of thefe provinces : their eyes are 
full of vivacity, their fpeech voluble and articu- 
late, their deportment manly and dignified, their 
apprehenfion quick, their minds always prefent 
and attentive j with a fpirit of independence 
appearing in the countenances even of the 
loweft among them. Men will always differ in 
their ideas of civilization, each meafuring it by 
the Habits arid prejudices of his own country ; 
but, if courtefy and urbanity, a love of poetry 
and eloquence, and the pradlice of exalted vir- 
tues be a jufter meafure of perfeft fociety, we 
have certain proof, that the people oi ^Arabia, 
both on plains and in cities, in republican and 
monarchical ftates, were eminently civilized for 
many ages before their conqueft of Perjia. 

It is deplorable, that the ancient Hiftory of 
this majeilick race fliould be as little known in 
detail before the time of Dhii Texen, as that of 
the Hindus before Vicramaditya j for, although 
the vaft hiftoricfd work of ^Inuwairiy and the 
Murujuldbabab, or Golden Meadows, of Alma~ 
Ju^f contain chapters on the kings of Himyar, 
GHafan, and Hirab, with lifts of them and 



{ketches of their feveral reigns, and although Ge- 
nealogical Tables, from which chronology might 
be better afcertained, are prefixed to many com- 
pofitions of the old Arabian Poets, yet moft ma- 
mifcripts are fo incorred, and fo many contra- 
didions are found in the heft of them, that we 
can fcarce lean upon tradition with fecurity, and 
muft have recourfe to the fame media for invef- 
tigating the hiftory of the Arabs, that I before 
adopted in regard to that of the Indians j name- 
ly, their language, letters and religion, their an- 
cient monuments, and the certain remains of . their 
arts ; on each of which heads I lhall touch very 
concifely, having premifed, that my obfervations 
will in general be confined to the ftate of Arabia 
before that fingular revolution, at the beginning 
of the fevenlb century, the effefts of which we 
feel at this day from the Pyrenean mountains 
and the Danube, to the fartheft parts of the In- 
dian Empire, and even to the Eaftern Illands. 

I. For the knowledge, which any European, 
who pleafes, may attain of the Arabian language, 
we are principally indebted to the univerfity of 
Leyden ; for, though feveral Italians have afli- 
duoufly laboured in the fame wide field, yet the 
fruit of their labours has been rendered almoft 
ufelefs by more commodious and more accurate 
works printed m Holland ; and, though Pocock 
certainly accomplilhed much, and was able to 


accomplilh any thing, yet the Academical eafe, 
which he enjoyed, and his theological purfuits, 
induced him to leave unfiniftied the valuable 
work of Maiddniy which he had prepared for 
publication ; nor, even if that rich mine of Ara- 
bian Philology had feen the light, would it have 
borne any comparifon with the fifty difl'ertations 
of Harir'iy which the firft Schultens 

tranflated and explained, though he fent abroad 
but few of them, and has left his worthy grand- 
fon, from whom perhaps Maiddni alfo may be 
expected, the honour of publifliing the reft : 
but the palm of glory in this branch of literature 
is due to Golius, whofe works are equally pro- 
found and elegant ; fo pcrfpicuous in method, 
that they may always be confulted without fa- 
tigue, and read without languor, yet fo abundant 
in matter, that afty man, who lhall begin with 
his noble edition of the Grammar compiled by 
his maftcr Erpenius, and proceed, with the 
help of his incomparable didlionary, to ftudy 
his Hiftory of Taimiir by Ihni Arahjhdb, and 
ftiall make himfelf complete mafter of that fub- 
lime work, will underftand the learned Arabick 
better than the deepeft fcholar at Conjlantinople 
or at Mecca. The Arabick language, therefore, 
is almoft wholly in our power; and, as it is un- 
queftionably one of the moft ancient in the world, 
fo it yields to none ever fpoken by mortals in 



the number of its words and the precifion of its 
phrafes ; but it is equally true and wonderful, 
that it bears not the leaft refemblance, either in 
words or the ftrufturc of them, to the Satifcrity 
or great parent of the Indian dialedls ; of which 
dillimilarity I will mention two remarkable in- 
flances ; the Sanferit, like the Greeks PcrJiaHy 
and G. rm delights in compounds, but, in a 
much liigher degree, and indeed to fuch excefs, 
that i could produce words of more than twenty 
fyllahlcs, not formed ludicroufly, like that by 
which the buffoon in Aristophanes deferibes 
a feaft, but with perfetS ferioufnefs, on the piofl; 
folcmn occaflons, and in the moft elegant works; 
while the Arabicky on the other hand, and all 
its filler dialedts, abhor the compofition of words, 
and invariably exprefs very complex ideas by 
circumlooLition ; fo that, if a compound word 
be found in any genuine language of the Ara- 
bian Peninfula, ( zenmerdab for inftance, which 
occurs in the Huindjah ) it may at once be pro- 
nounced an exotick. Again ; it is the genius 
of the Satifcrity and other languages of the fame 
flock, that the roots of verbs be almoft univer- 
fally biliteraly fo that five and txventy hundred 
Inch roots might be formed by the compofition of 
fifty Indian letters ; but the Arabick roots 
are as univerfally triliteraly fo that the compo- 
fition of the twenty-eight Arabian letters would 



give near two and txventy thoufand elements of 
the language : and this will demonftrate the fur- 
prifing extent of it ; for, although great num- 
bers of its roots are confefledly loft, and fome, 
perhaps, were never in ufe, yet, if we fuppofe 
ten thoufand of them (without rckoning quadri- 
litcrals ) to exift, and each of them to admit only 
jive variations, one with another, in forming 
derivative nouns, even then a perfect Jrabich 
didiionary ought to contain jijty thoufand words, 
each of which may receive a multitude of 
changes by the rules of grammar. The deriva- 
tives. in Sanfcrit arc confiderably more numerous: 
but a farther comparifon between the two lan- 
guages is here unneceflary ; fince, in whatever 
light we view them, they feem totally diftindi, 
and muft have been invented by two different 
races of men ; nor do I recollect a fingle word 
in common between them, except SuruJ, the 
plural of Siraj, meaning both a lamp and the 
Jun, the Sanfcrit name of which is, in Bengal, 
pronounced Surja ; and even this refemblance 
may be purely accidental. We may eaflly be- 
lieve with the Hindus, that not even Indra bim- 
felf and his heavenly bands, much lejs any mortal, 
ever comprehended in his mind fuch an ocean of 
words as their ficred language contains, and 
with the Arabs, that no man uninfpired was 
ever a complete mafter of Arabick: in fadi no 


perfon, I believe, now living in Europe or 
can read without ftudy an hundred couplets to- 
gether in any colledion of ancient Arabian 
poems ; and we are told, fhat the great autlior 
of the Kdmiis learned by accident from the mouth 
of a child, in a village of yJrabia, the meaning 
of three words which he had long fought in 
vain from grammarians, and from books, of the 
higheft reputation. It is by approximation 
alone, that a knowledge of thefe two venerable 
languages can be acquired ; and, with moderate 
attention, enough of them both may be known, 
to delight and inftrufl; us in an infinite decree: 
I conclude tjiis head with remarking, that the 
nature of the Ethiopick dialedf feems to prove 
an early eftablifliment of the Arabs in part of 
Ethiopia, from which they were afterwards ex- 
pelled, and attacked even in thtir own country 
by the Abyjfinians, who had been invited over 
as auxiliaries againft the tyrant of Temen about 
a century before the birth ofMuHAMMED. 

Of the characters, in which the old com- 
pofitions of Arabia were written, we know but 
little j except that the Koran originally appeared 
in thofe of Cufab^ from which the modern ylra- 
bian letters, with 4II their elegant variations, 
were derived, and which unqueftionably had a 
common origin with the Hebrew or Chaldaick ; 
but, as to the Himyarick letters, or thofe which 


wc fee mentioned by the name of Jlmufnad, we 
are ftill in total darknefs ; the traveller Niebuhr 
having been unfortunately prevented from vilit- 
ing fome ancient monuments in Temcn^ which 
arc faid to have inlcriplions on them : if thofe 
letters bear a llrong refemblance to the Nagar'iy 
and if a ftory current in India be true, that fome 
Hindu merchants heard the Sanferit language 
fpoken in Arabia the Happy, we might be con- 
firmed in our opinion, that an intercourfe for- 
merly fubfiftcd between the two nations of op- 
polite coafts, but Ihould have no rcafon to be- 
lieve, that they fprang from the fame immediate 
llock. The lirll fyllable of Hamyar, as many 
Kuropi'iins write it, might perhaps induce an 
litymologill to derive the Arabs of Tcmen from 
the great anccllor of the Indians ; but we mull 
obferve, that lifniyar is t!ie proper appellation of 
thofe Arabs', and many rcafons concur to prove, 
that the word is •pwxcXy Arabick: the limilarity 
of fome proper names on the borders of India to 
thofe of Arabia, as the river Arabius, a place 
called Araba, a people named Aribes or Arabies, 
and another called Sabai, is indeed remarkable, 
and may hereafter furnifh me with obfervatlons 
of fome importance, but i^ot at all inconfiftent 
with my prefent ideas. 

II. It is generally alTerted, that the old religion 
of the Arabs was entirely Sabian ; but I can 



offer fo little accurate information concerning 
the Sabian faith, or even the meaning of the 
word, that I dare not yet fpeak on the fuh)e<SJ: 
with confidence. This at Ica’.l: is certain, that 
the people of Tenu'/i very foon fell into the com- 
nion, but fatal, errour of adoring the Sun and the 
Firmament ; for even the Ibird in defeent from 
Yoktan, who was confecpiently as old as Na- 
HOR, took the I'urnaine of Audosii ams, or S(T- 
vanl of the Sun; and his family, we are ailiircd, 
paid particular honours to lliat luminary ; other 
tribes worlhippcd the planets and fixed liars ; 
but the religion of the poets at leall feeins to 
have been pure Theifm ; and this we know with 
certainty, becaufe \vc have /trabiiin verfes of 
unfufpedlcd antiquity, which contain pious and 
elevated fentiments on the goodnefs and jufiice, 
the power and omniprefence, oY Allah, or thk 
God. If an infeription, faid to have been found 
on marble in Temen, be authentick, the ancient 
inhabitants of that country preferved the religion 
of Eiucr, and profeffed a belief in rniracli's and a 
futiirL' Jtate. 

We are alfo told, that a ftrong refemblance 
may be found between the religions of the pagan 
y‘frabs and the Hindus ; but, though this may be 
true, yet an agreement in w’orlliipping the fun 
and liars will not prove an affinity between the 
ttvo nations : the pozerrs of God reprefented as 



female deities, the adoration of Jiones, and the 
name of the Idol W udd, may lead us indeed to 
fufpeft, that feme of the Hindu fuperftitions had 
found their way into Jrabia-, and though we 
have no traces in Jrabian Hiilory of fuch a 
conqueror or legiflator as the great Sesac, who 
is faid to have raifed pillars in Yemen as well as 
at the mouth of the Ganges, yet, fmee we know, 
that Sa'cya is a title of Buddha, whom I fup- 
pofe to be Woden, lince Buddha was not a 
native of India, and fince the age of Sesac per- 
fectly agrees with that of Sa'cya, wc may form 
a plaufible conjecture, that they were in faCt the 
fame perfon, who travelled eaftward from Etbio^ 
pia, cither as a warriour or as a lawgiver, about 
a tiioufand years before Curist^ and whofe rites 
we now fee extended as far as the country of 
Nijou, or, as the Cbinefe call it, Japuen, both 
words fignifying the Rifing Sun. Sa'cya may 
be derived from a word meaning />owcr, or from 
another denoting vegetable food’, fo that this 
epithet will not determine, whether he was a 
hero or a philofopher ; but the title Buddha, or 
ulje, may induce us to believe, that he was ra- 
ther a benefactor, than a deftroyer, of his fpe- 
cies : if his religion, howeyer, was really in- 
troduced into any part of Arabia, it could not 
have been general in that country ; and we may 
fafely pronounce, that before the Mohammedan 



revolution, the noble and learned Arabs were 
'rheifts, but that a ftupid idolatry prevailed 
among the lower orders of the people. 

I find no trace among them, till their emi- 
gration, of any Philofophy but Ethicks j and 
even their fyftem of morals, generous and en- 
larged as it feems to have been in the minds of 
a few illuftrious chieftains, was on the whole 
miferably depraved for a century at leafi: before 
MuuaMMkd : the difiinguifhing virtues, which 
they boafted of Inculcating and praeSlifing, were 
a contempt of riches and even of death ; but, in 
the age of the Seven Poets, their liberality had 
deviated into mad profufion, their courage into 
ferocity, and their patience into an obftinatc 
fpirit of encountering fruitlefs dangers ; but I 
forbear to expatiate on the manners of the Arabs 
in that age, bccaufe the pocms,'*entitled AlmodU 
lakdt, which have appeared in our own language, 
exhibit an exafl: piiflure of their virtues and their 
vices, their wifdom and their folly ; and fhow 
what may be couftantly expelled from men of 
open hearts and boiling paflions, with no law to 
control, and little religion to reftrain, them. 

■ III. Few monuments of antiquity are pre- 
ferved in Arabia, and of thole fpw the beft ac- 
counts are very uncertain ; but we are alTured, 
that inferiptions on rocks and mountains arc 
ftill feen in various parts of the Peninfula ; 

VOL. T. o 


which, if they are in any known language, and 
if corredl copies of them can be procured, may 
be dccyphered by eafy and infallible rules. 

The firfl Albert Schultens has preferved 
in his Ancient Memorials of jirabia^ the moft 
pleafing of all his works, two little poems in an 
clcgiack ftrain, which are faid to have been found, 
about the middle of the feventh century, on fome 
fragments of ruined edifices in Hadramul near 
/IdeHj and are fuppofed to be of an indefinite, 
but very remote, age. It may naturally be afk- 
cd : In what cliaratflers w'cre they written ? 
Who dccyphered them ? Why were not the ori- 
ginal letters preferved in the book, wdicre the 
verfes are cited ? What became of the marbles, 
which Abdurrahman, then governor of Temm, 
moft probably font to the KhalJjah at Bagdad ? 
If they be genuine, they prove the people of 
li men to have been ‘ herdfmen and warriours, 
‘ inhabiting a fertile and well-watered country 
‘ full of game, and near a fine fea abounding 
‘ with fifli, under a monarchical government, 
‘ and drelfed In green lilk or veils of needlework,’ 
either of their own manuladurc or imported 
from India. The meafure of thefe verfes is per- 
fedlly regular, and the dialedl undiftinguifhable, 
at leaft by me, from that of Kuraijh ; fo that, 
if the Arabian writers were much addidted to 
literary impoftures, I fliould ftrongly fufped 



them to be modern compofitions on the infta- 
bility of human greatnefs, and the confequenccs 
of irreligion, illuftrated by the example of the 
Himyarick princes ; and -the fame may be ful- 
pedod of the firft poem quoted by Schulte ns, 
which he afcribes to an Jrab in the age of 

The fuppofcd houfes of the people called 
Thamtid are alfo ftill to be fecn in excavations 
of rocks; and, in the time of Tabrizi the 
Grammarian, a caftle was extant in Yemerif 
which bore the name of Aladbat, an old bard 
and warriour, who firft, we are told, formed his 
army, thence called dlkhaTnis\ in Jive parfs, by 
which arrangement he defeated the troops of 
Himyar in an expedition againft Sanaa. 

Of pillars ereded by Sesac, after his inva- 
fion of Temeny we find no mention in Arabian 
hiftories'; and, perhaps, the ftory has no more 
foundation than another told by the Greeks and 
adopted by Newton, that the Arabs worfliipped 
Urania, and even Bacchus by name, which, 
they fay, means great in Arabick : but where 
they found fuch a word, we cannot difeover : it 
.is true, that Beccah fignifies a great and tumul- 
tuous crowd, and, in this fenfc, is one name of 
the facred city commonly called Meccah. 

The Cdbab, or quadrangular edifice at Mec~ 
cabf is indifputably fo ancient, that its original 

G 2 


ufe, and the name of its builder, are loft in a 
cloud of idle traditions. An Arab told me 
gravely, that it was railed by Abraham, who, 
as I afllired him, was never there : others afcribe 
it, with more probability, to Ismail, or one of 
his immediate defendants ; but whether it was 
built as a place of divine worfhip, as a fortrefs, as 
a fepulchre, or as a monument of the treaty be- 
tween the old pofleflbrs of Arabia and the fons 
of Ki D A R, antiquaries may difputc, but no mor- 
tal can determine. It is thought by Reland 
to have been the manjion of fome ancient Pa- 
triarch, and revered on that account by bis pof- 
ierity, but the room, in which we now are af- 
feinbled, would contain the whole Arabian edi- 
fice ; and, if it were large enough for the dwell- 
ing-houfe of a patriarchal family, it would feem 
ill adapted Lo the paftoral manners of the Keda- 
rites : a Pcrfian author infifts, that the true 
name of Meccah is Mabcadah, or the Temple of 
the Moon ; but, although we may fmile at his 
etymology, we cannot but think it probable, 
that the Cdbab was originally dcligned for reli- 
gious purpofes. Three couplets are cited in an 
Arabick Hiftory of this Building, which, from 
their extreme fimplicity, have Icfs appearance of 
impofture than other verfes of tlic fame kind : 
they arc aferibed to Asad, a Tobbd, or king by 
fucceffion, who is generally allowed to have reign- 



ed in Yemen an hundred and twenty-eight years 
before Christas birth, and they commemorate, 
without any poetical imagery, the magnificence 
of the prince in covering the holy temple with 
Jlriped cloth and Jine linen, and hi making keys 
for its gate. This temple, however, the fanctity 
of which was reflored by Muhammkd, had 
been ftrangely profaned at the time of his birth, 
when it was ufual to decorate its walls with 
poems on all fubjedts, and often on the triumphs 
of Arabian gallantry and the praifes of Grecian 
wine, which the merchants of Syria brought for 
fale into the deferts. 

From the want of materials on the fubjedf of 
Arabian antiquity, we find it very difficult to fix 
the Chronology of the IJmaililes with accuracy 
beyond the time of A on an, from whom the 
impoftor was defeended in the twenty-firjl de- 
gree} and, although we have genealogies of 
Alkamah and other Himyarick bards as high 
as the thirtieth degree, or for a period of nine 
hundred years at leaft, yet we can hardly depend 
on them fo far, as to eftablifh a complete chro- 
nological fyftcm : by reafoning downwards, how- 
ever, we may afeertain fome points of confider- 
able importance. The univerfal tradition of 
Yemen is, that Yoktan, the fon of Eber, firft 
fettled his family in that country' ; which fettlc- 
ment, by the computation admitted in Europe, 

6* THE Fourth discourse, 

mull have been above three tboufand fix hundred 
years ago, and nearly at the time, when the 
Hindus, under the condu<9; of Rama, were fub- 
duing the firll inhabitants of thefe regions, and 
extending the Indian Empire from Ayodhya or 
Audh as far as the ille of Sinhal or Sildn. Ac- 
cording to this calculation, Nuuman, king of 
Yemen in the ninth generation from Eber, was 
contemporary with Joseph; and, if a verfe 
compofed by that prince, and quoted by A bul- 
ked a, was really preferved, as it might eafily 
have, been, by oral tradition, it proves the great 
antiquity of the Arabian language and metre. 
This is a literal verfion of the couplet : ‘ When 
* thou, who art in power, condudleft affairs with 
‘ courtefy, thou attaineft the high honours of 
‘ thofe, who are moll exalted, and whofe man- 
‘ dates are' obeyed.’ We are told, that, from an 
elegant verb in this diftich, the royal poet ac- 
quired the furname of Almuddfer, or the Coi/r- 
teous. Now the rcafons for believing this verfe 
genuine are its brevity, which made it eafy to 
be remembered, and the good fenfe comprized 
in it, which made it become proverbial ; to 
which we may add, that the dialed is apparently 
old, and differs in three words from the idiom 
of Hejdz: the reafons for doubting are, that 
fentences and verfes of indefinite antiquity are 
fpmetimes aferibed by the Arabs to particular 



perfons of eminence ; and they even go fo far 
as to cite a pathetick elegy of Adam himfelf on 
the death of Abel, but in very good j^rabick 
and correct meafure. Such are the doubts, 
which necelTarily muft arife on fucli a fubjcd: ; 
yet we have no need of ancient monuments or 
traditions to prove all that our analyfis requires, 
namely, that the Arabs, both of llejaz and 
Yemen, fprang from a ftock entirely different 
from that of the Hindus, and that their firft ella- 
blifhments in the refpeilivc countries, where we 
now find them, were nearly coeval. 

I cannot finifh this article without obferving, 
that, when the King of Denmark's miniftefs in- 
flruded the Daniflj travellers to colledl: hijlorical 
books in Arabick, but not to bul'y thcrafelves 
with procuring Arabian poems, tfiey certainly 
w^ere ignorant, that the only monuments of old 
Arabian Hiftory are collections of poetical pieces 
and the commentaries on them ; that all memo- 
rable tranfa£tions in Arabia were recorded in 
verfe ; and that more certain fadts may be known 
by reading the Hamafab, the Diwan of Hudhail, 
and the valuable work of Obaidullah, than by 
turning over a hundred volumes in profe, unicfs 
indeed thofe poems are cited by the hiflorians as 
their authories. 

J V. The manners of the Hejdzi Arabs, which 



have continued, we know, from the time of So*. 
LOMON to the prefent age, were by no means 
favourable to the cultivation of arts ; and, as to 
JcienceSy we have no reafon to believe, that they 
were acquainted with any ; for the mere amufe- 
ment of giving names to ftars, which were ufe- 
ful to them in their pafloral or predatory rambles 
through the deferts, and in their obfervations on 
the weather, can hardly be confidered as a ma- 
terial part of aftronomy. The only arts, in 
which they pretended to excellence (I except 
horfemanfhip and military accomplifhments) 
•were poetry and rbetorick: that we have none 
pf their coinpofitions in profe before the Korariy 
may be aferibed, perhaps, to the little fkill, which 
they feem to have had, in writing ; to their pre- 
diledion in favour of poetical meafurc, and to 
the facility, with which verfes are committed to 
memory ; but all their ftories prove, tiiat they 
were eloquent in a high degree, and poflefled 
wonderful powers of fpeaking without prepa- 
ration in flowing and forcible periods. I have 
never been able to difeover, what was meaned 
by their books, called Raivds'm^ but fuppofe, 
that they were colledions of their common, or 
cuftomary, law. Writing was fo little pradifed 
among them, tHat their old poems, which are 
now acceflible to us, may almofl be confidered 



as originally unwritten ; and I am inclined to 
think, that Samuel Johnson’s reafoning, on 
the extreme imperfedion of unwritten lan- 
guages, was too general ; fince a language, that 
is only fpoken, may neverthelefs be highly po- 
lifhed by a people, who, like the ancient Arabs, 
make the improvement of their idiom a national 
concern, appoint folemn aflemblies for the pur- 
pofe of difplaying their poetical talents, and hold 
it a duty to exercife their children in getting by 
heart their moft approved compofitions. 

The people of Yemen had poflibly more me- 
chanical arts, and, perhaps, more fcie.ncc', but, 
although their ports muft have been the empbria 
of confiderable commerce between Egypt and 
India or part of Perjia, yet we have no certain 
proofs of their proficiency in navigation or even 
in manufadures. That the Areibs of the defert 
had mufic’al inftruments, and names for the dif- 
ferent notes, and that they were greatly delight- 
ed with melody, we know from themfelves ; 
but their lutes and pipes were probably very 
fimple, and their mufick, I fufped, was little 
more than a natural and tuneful recitation of 
their elegiack verfes and love-fongs. The An- 
gular property of their language, in ihunning 

I f 

compound words, may be urged, according to 
Bacon’s idea, as a proof, that they had made 


no progrefs in arts, * which require, fays he, a 

* variety of combinations to exprefs the com- 

* plex notions arifing from them but the fin~ 
gularity may perhaps be imputed wholly to the 
genius of the language, and the tafte of thofe, 
who fpoke it ; lince the old Germans, who knew 
no art, appear to have delighted in compound 
words, which poetry and oratory, one would 
conceive, might require as much as any meaner 
art whatfoever. 

So great, on the whole, was the ftrength of 
parts or capacity, either natural or acquired from 
habit, for which the Arabs were ever diftinguifli- 
cd, that we cannot be furprized, when we fee 
that blaze of genius, which they difplayed, as far 
as their arms extended, when they burft, like 
their own dyke of Arim, through their ancient 
limits, and fpread, like an inundation, over the 
great empire of Irhu That a race of Tdzis, or 
Coiirfcrs as the Perfians call them, ‘ who drank 

* the milk of camels and fed on lizards, fliould 
‘ entertain a thought of fubduing the kingdom 
‘of Feridun’ was confidered by the General 
of Yezdegird’s army as the ftrongeft inftance 
of fortune’s levity and mutability ; but Fir- 
dausi, a complete mafter of AJiatick manners, 
and Angularly impartial, reprefents the Arabs, 
even in the age of Feridun, as ‘ difclaiming 



* any kind of dependence on that monarch, exult- 
^ ing in their liberty, delighting in eloquence, 
' a£ts of liberality^ and martial achievements, 

■ and thus making the whole earth, fays the poet, 
‘ red as wine with the blood of their foes, and 
‘ the air like a foreft of canes with their tall 
‘ I'pears.’ With fuch a charadler they were 
likely to conquer any country, that they could 
invade ; and, if Alexander had invaded their 
dominions, they would unqucftionably have 
made an obftinate, and probably a fuccefsful, 

But I have detained you too long, gentlemen, 
with a nation, who have ever been my favourite?, 
and hope at our next anniverfary meeting to travel 
with you over a part of ylfia, which exhibits a 
race of men diftinft both from the Hindus and 
from the Arabs, In the mean, time it lhall be 
my care to fuperintend the publication of your 
tranfadtions, in which, if the learned in Europe 
have not raifed their expedations too high, they 
will not, 1 believe, be difappointed ; my own 
imperfeft eflays I always except ; but, though 
my other engagements have prevented my at- 
tendance on your fociety for the greateft part 
of lad: year, and I have fet an example of that 
freedom from reftraint, without which no fo- 
ciety can flourifh, yet, as my few hours of leifure 


will now be devoted to Sanferit literature, I can- 
not but hope, though my chief objedl be a 
knowledge of Hindu Law, to make fome difeo- 
very in other fciences, which I fhall impart with 
humility, and which you will, I doubt not, re- 
ceive with indulgence. 





At the clofe of my laft addrefs to you, Gen- 
tlemen, I declared my defign of introducing’ to 
your notice a people of who feemcd as dif- 
ferent in moft refpedfs from the Hindus and 
ylrabSy as thofe two nations had been fhown to 
differ from each other ; I meaned the’ people, 
whom we ‘call Tartars: but I enter with ex- 
treme diffidence on my prefent fubjedt, becaufe 
I have little knowledge of the Tartarian dialedls ; 
and the grofs errours of European writers on 
AJiaiick literature have long convinced me, that 
no fatisfadlory account can be given of any na- 
tion, with whofe language we are not perfedily 
acquainted. Such evidence, however, as I have 
procured by attentive reading and fcrupulous in- 
quiries, I will now lay before you, interfperfing 
fuch remarks as I could not but make on that 



evidence, and fubmitting the whole to your Im- 
partial decifion. 

Conformably to the method before adopted in 
defcribing Arabia and India, I confider Tartary 
alfo, for the purpofe of this difcourfe, on its moft 
cxtenfive fcale, and requeft your attention, whilfl. 
1 trace the largeft boundaries that are affignable 
to it : conceive a line drawn from the mouth 
of the Oby to that of the Dnieper, and, bringing 
it back caftward acrofs the Faixine, fo as to in- 
clude the pcninfula of Krim, extend it along the 
foot of Caucafus, by the rivers Cur and Aras, to 
the Cajpian lake, from the oppofite Ihore of 
which follow the courfe of the Jaihu/i and the 
chain of Caucafean hills as fir as thofe of Imaus: 
whence continue the line beyond the ChineJ'e 
wall to the White Mountain and the country of 
Tetjo ; fkirting the borders of Perjia, Indiat 
China, Corea, but including part of Rujfia, with 
all the diftriefs which lie between the Glacial 
fca, and that of Japan. M. De Guicjnes, 
wliofe great w’ork on the Huns abounds more in 
folid learning than in rhetorical ornaments, pre- 
fonts us, however, with a magnificent image of 
this wide region ; defcribing it as a ftupendous 
edifice, the beams and pillars of which are many 
ranges of lofty hills, and the dome, one pro- 
digious mountain, to which the Chinefe give the 
epithet of Celejlial, with a confiderable number 



of broad rivers flowing down its fides : if the 
manfion be fo amazingly fublime, the land 
around it is proportionahly extended, but more 
wonderfully diverfified ; for fomc parts of it are 
incruftcd with ice, others parched with inflamed 
air and covered with a kind of lava ; here we 
meet with immenfe tradfs of fandy deferts and 
forcits almofl. impenetrable ; there, with gardens, 
groves, and meadows, perfumed with mufk, 
watered by mimherlefs rivulets, and abounding 
in fruits aud flowers ; and, from eaft to well, 
lie many coubderable provinces, which appear 
as valleys in comparifon of the hills towering 
above them, but in truth are the flat fummits of 
the highell mountains in the world, or at leaft 
the higheft in AJia. Near one fourth in latitude 
of this extraordinary region is in the fame charm- 
ing climate with Gret'ce, Italy, and Ilroveuci ’ ; 
and another fourth in that of Etjgland, Ger- 
many, and the northern parts of France ; but 
the Hyperborean countries can have few beauties 
.to recommend them, at lead in the prefent ftatc 
of the earth’s temperature : to the fouth, on the 
frontiers of Iran are the beautiful vales of Sogbd 
vyith the celebrated cities of Samarkand and 
Bokhara on thofe of Tibet are the territories of 
Cajhgbar, Khoten, Chegil and KBdtd, all famed 
for perfumes and for the beauty of their iii- 
habirants j and on thofe of China lies the conn- 


try of Chin, anciently a powerful kingdom, which 
name, like that of Kbdtti, has in modern times 
been given to the whole Chinefe empire, where 
fuch an appellation would be thought an infult. 
We muft not omit the fine territory of Tanciit^ 
which was known to the Greeks by the name of 
Serica, and confidered by them as the fartheft 
eaftern extremity of the habitable globe. 

Scythia feems to be the general name, which 
the ancient Europeans gave to as much as they 
knew of the country thus bounded and de- 
feribed; but, whether that word be derived, as 
Pliny feems to intimate, from Sacai, a people 
kno'wn by a fimilar name to the Greeks and 
Perfians^ or, as Bryant imagines, from Cuthia, 
or, as Colonel Vallancey believes, from 
words denoting navigatiotiy or, as it might have 
been fuppofed,, from a Greek root implying 
xeraib and ferocity, this at leaf!; is certain, that 
as hidiay China, Perjia, 'Japan, are not appella* 
tions of thofe countries in the languages of the 
nations, who inhabit them, fo neither Scythia 
nor Tartary are names, by which the inhabit- 
ants of the country now under our confider- 
ation have ever diftinguifhed themfelves. Ta- 
ta rijlan is, indeed, a word ufed by the Perfians 
for the fouth-weftern part of Scythia, where the 
mufk-deer is faid to be common ; and the name 
Tatar is by fomc confidered as that of a parti- 


cular tribe ; by others, as that of a fmall river 
only; while Tiirm^ as oppofed to Iran, feems 
to mean the ancient dominion of Afra'sia'b to 
the north and eaft of the Oxus. There is no- 
thing more idle than a debate concerning names, 
which after all are of little confequence, when 
our ideas are diftindf without them : having 
given, therefore, a corredl notion of the country, 
which 1 propofcd to examine, I fliall not feru- 
ple to call it by the general name of TarUiry ; 
though I am confeious of ufmg a term equally 
improper in the pronunciation and the applica- 
tion of it. 

Tartary then, whicli contained, according to 
Pliny, an innumcrahh’ muliilude of nations, by 
whom the rcR of Afia and all Europe has in 
different ages been over-run, is denominated, as 
various images have prel'cnted thcnifelves to va- 
rious fancies, the great hive of the northern 
fwarms, the nurfery of irrejifible legions, and, 
by a ftronger mct;iphor, the Joundery rf the hu- 
man race’, but M. Baili.y, a wonderfully inge- 
nious man and a very lively writer, feems firft 
to have confidered it as the cradle of our fpecics, 
and to have fupported an opinion, that the 
whole ancient wori^ was enlightened by fei- 
ences brought from the moft northern parts of 
Scythia, particularly from the banks of the 
'jenifea, or from the Hyperborean regions : all 

VOL. I. 



the fables of old Greece^ I/idia, he 

derives from the north ; and it muft be owned, 
that he maintains his paradox with acutenefs 
and learning. Great learning and great acute- 
nefs, together with the charms of a moll engag- 
ing ftyle, were indeed ncceflary to render even 
tolerable a fyftera, which places an earthly pa- 
radife, the gardens of HefperuSy the iflands of 
the Macarea^ the groves of Elyjium, if not of 
Edcti, the heaven of In dr A, the Perijian, or 
fairy-land, of the Pcrfian poets, with its city of 
diamonds and its country of Shddcam, fo named 
from Plc.afure and Lov<:, not in any climate, 
which the common fenfe of mankind confiders 
as the feat of delights, but beyond the mouth of 
the Oby, in the Frozen Sea, in a region equalled 
only by that, where the wild imagination of 
Dante led •him to fix the worft of criminals 
in a ftate of pimifhment after death, and of 
which he could Jiot, he fays, even think xvithout 
Jlnvering. A very curious paffage in a tra£t of 
Peutarch on the figure in the Moon’s orb, 
naturally induced M. Bailly to place Ogygia 
in the north, and he concludes that ifland, as 
others have concluded rather fallacioully, to be 
the Atlantis of Plato, but is at a lofs to deter- 
mine, whether it was Jfeland or Greenland, 
Spitzberg or Nerv Zembla: among fo many 
charms it was difficult, indeed, to give a pre- 



ference ; but our philofopher, though as much 
perplexed by an option of beauties as the fhep- 
herd of Ida, feemson the whole to think Zembla 
the moft worthy of the golden fruit ; becaufe it 
is indifputably an ifland, and lies oppofite to a 
gulph near a continent, from which a great 
number of rivers defeend into the ocean. He 
appears equally diftrefled among five nations, 
real and imaginary, to fix upon that, which the 
Greeks named Atlantes ; and his conclufion in 
both cafes muft remind us of the Ihowman at 
Eton, who, having pointed out in his box all 
the crowned heads of the world, and being afk- 
ed by the fchoolboys, who looked through the 
glafs, which was the Emperor, which the Pope, 
which the Sultan, and which the Great Mogul, 
anfwered eagerly, ‘ which you pleafe, young 
‘ gentlemen, which you pleafe.’ His letters, 
however, to Voltaire, in which he unfolds 
his new fyftem to his friend, w'hom he had not 
been able to convince, are by no means to be 
derided ; and his general propofition, that arts 
and fclences had their fource in Tartary, de- 
ferves a longer examination than can be given 
bo it in this difeourfe : I fhall, neverthelefs, with 
your permiffion, Ihortly difeufs the queftion 
under the feveral heads, that will prefent them- 
felves in order. 

Although we may naturally fuppofe, that the 

H 2 


numbcrlefs communities of Tartars, fome of 
whom arc cflabliflied in great cities, and fome 
encamped on plains in ambulatory manfions, 
which they remove from pafture to pafture, muft. 
be as different in their features as in their dia- 
lects, yet, among thofe who have not emigrated 
into another country and mixed with another 
nation, we may difeern a family likenefs, ef- 
pccially in their eyes and countenance, and in 
that conliguration of lineaments, which we ge- 
nerally call a Tartar face ; but, without making 
anxious inquiries, whether all the inhabitants of 
the yaft region before deferibed have limilar 
features, we may conclude from thofe, whom we 
have feen, and from the original portraits of 
Taimu K and his defendants, that the 7'artars 
in general differ wholly in complexion and 
countenance froth the Hindus and from the 
Arabs-, an obfervation, which tends in fome 
degree to confirm the account given by modern 
Tartars thcmfelves of their defeent from a com- 
mon anceftor. Unhappily their lineage cannot 
be proved by authcntick pedigrees or hiftorical 
monuments ; for all their writings extant, even 
thofe in the Mogul dialed, are long fubfequent 
to the time of Mufiammea^ nor is it poflible 
to (^inguifh their genuine traditions from thofe 
of the Arabs, whofe religious opinions they have 
in general adopted. At the beginning of the 



fourteenth centuiy, Khu’djah Rashi'd, furnam- 
ed Fad'lu’llah, a native of Kuzvin \ compiled 
his account of the Tartars and Mongals from 
the papers of one Pu la'd, whom the great 
grandlon of Holacu' had fent into Tdtdrijldn 
for the foie purpofc of collc6ting hiftorical in- 
formation ; and the commiflion itfelf (hows, how 
little the Tartarian Princes really knew of their 
own origin. Prom this work of Rashi d, and 
from other materials, ABu’LGHA '/.t , King of 
Khuu'irezm, compofcd in the Mogul language 
his Genealogical Hijlory, which, having - been 
purchafcd from a merchant of Jiokhdrd by fome 
Su’edijh officers, prifoners of war in Siberia, has 
found its way into fcvcral European tongues : it 
contains much valuable matter, but, like all Mu- 
ll ammedan hillories, exhibits tribes or nations 
as indivicjual fovereigns ; and, if Baron De Tott 
had not ftrangely negleded to procure a copy 
of the Tartai'ian hiftory, for the original of 
which he unncceflarily offered a large fum, we 
fliould probably have found, that it begins with 
an account of the deluge taken from the Kordii^ 
and proceeds to rank Tunc, Chin, Tatar, 
and Mongal, among the fons of Ya'fet. The 
genuine traditional diiftory of the Tartars, in all 
the books that I have infpedted, feems to begin 
withOoHU Z, as that of the Hindus does with 
Ra ma : they place their miraculous Hero and 



Patriarch four thoufand years before Cheng iz 
Khan, who was born in the year 1164, and 
with whofe reign their hiftorical period com- 
mences. It is rather furprizing, that M. B ailly, 
who makes frequent appeals to Etymological 
arguments, has not derived Ogyges from 
Oghu'x and Atlas from Altai, or the Golden 
mountain of I'artary: the Greek terminations 
might have been rejedted from both words ; and 
a mere tranfpofition of letters is no difficulty 
with an Etymologift. 

My remarks in this addrefs, gentlemen, will 
be confined to the period preceding Chengiz ; 
and, although the learned labours of M. De 
Guignes and the fathers Visdelou, Dema- 
ILLA, and Gaubil, who have made an incom- 
parable ufe of xhtixChinefe literature, exhibit pro- 
bable accounts of* the Tartars from a very early 
age, yet the old hiftorians of China were not only 
foreign, but generally hoftile, to them, and for 
both thofe reafons, either through ignorance or 
malignity, may be fufpedted of mifreprefenting 
their tranfaiSions : if they fpeak truth, the an- 
cient hiftory of the Tartars prefents us, like 
moft other hiftories, with a feries of aflaffina- 
tions, plots, treafons, maffacres, and all the na- 
tural fruits of felfiffi ambition. I ffiould have 
no inclination to give you a fketch of fuch hor- 
rors, even if the occafion called for it ; and will 



barely obferve, that tlie firft king of the Hyimmu's 
or began his reign, according to Visdelou, 
about three tbouf and Jive hundred and Jixty years 
ago, not long after the time fixed in my former 
difcourfes for the firft regular eftablifhments of 
the Hindus and Arabs in their fevcral countries. 

I. Our firft inquiry, concerning the languages 
and letters of the Tartars, prefents us with a de- 
plorable void, or with a profpeft as barren and 
dreary as that of their deferts. The Ta?'tars, in 
general, had no literature : (in this point all au- 
thorities appear to concur) the Turcs had no let- 
ters : the Huns, according to Procopius, .had 
not even heard of them : the magnificent CiiEX- 
Giz, whofe Empire included an area of near 
eighty fquare degrees, could find none of his 
own Mongals, as the beft authors inform us, 
able to write his dil'patches ; and Tai'mu'r, a 
favage of ftrong natural parts and paffionately 
fond of hearing hiftories read to him, could him- 
fclf neither write nor read. It is true, that Ibnu 
Arabsiiah mentions a fet of charadlers called 
Dilberjhi, which w'ere ufed in Khdtd : ‘ he had 
‘ feen them, he fays, and found them to confift 
‘ of forty-one letters, a diftin6t fymbol being ap- 
* propriated to each* long and fhbrt vowel, and 
‘ to each confonant hard or foft, or otherwife 
‘ varied in pronunciation but Khdtd was in 
fouthern Tartary on the confines of India ; and, 



from his defcription of the charadlers there in 
ufe, we cannot but fufpedt them to have been 
thofe of Tibet, which are manifeftly Indian, 
bearing a greater refemblance to thofe of Ben- 
gal than to Devanagari. The learned and elo- 
quent Arab adds, ‘ that the Tatars of Khdtd 

* write, in the Dilberjin letters, all their tales and 

* hiftories, their journals, poems, and mifcel- 

* lanies, their diplomas, records of ftate and juf- 

* tice, the laws of Chengiz, their publick re- 
‘ gifters and their compofitions of every fpccies:’ 
if this be true, the people of Kbdid muft have 
beep a poliflied and even a lettered nation ; and 
it may be true, without affeding the general 
pofition, that the Tartars were illiterate; but 
Ib-nu ArAbsha'h was a profefl'cd rhetorician, 
and it is impoflible to read the original pafTage, 
without full conviction that his writing 
it, was to difplay his power of w’^ords in a flow- 
ing and modulated period. He fays further, 
that in Jagbatdi the people of Oigbitr, as he 
calls them, ‘ have a fyftem of fourteen letters 
‘ only, denominated from themfelves Oigburi j’ 
and thofe are the characters, which the Mongols 
are fuppofed by moft authors to have borrowed : 
Abu'l’ghazi'* tells us onl)», that Chengiz em- 
ployed the natives of Eigbiir as excellent pen- 
men ; but the Chineje alTert, that he was forced 
to employ them, becaufe he had no writers at all 



among his natural-born fubjeds; and we are 
aflured by many, that Kublaikha'n ordered 
letters to be invented for his nation by a Tihe- 
tian, whom he rewarded with the dignity of 
chief Lama. The fmall number of Eighuri let- 
ters might induce us to believe, that they were 
Zend or Pablav), wdiich muft have been current 
in that country, when it was governed by the 
fons of Fkridu'n; and, if the alphabet aferibed 
to the Eigburians by M. Des Hautes raves 
be correct, we may fafely decide, that in many 
of its letters it refembles both the Zend and the 
Syriack, with a remarkable difference in the 
mode of conneding them ; but, as we can fcarce 
hope to fee a genuine fpecimen of them, our 
doubt muft remain in regard to their form and 
origin: the page, exhibited by Hyde as Kba- 
tdyan w^riting, is evidently a fort of broken 
Ci'ijick ; and the line manufeript at Oxford, from 
which it was taken, is more probably a Mendean 
w^ork on fome religious fubjed than, as he ima- 
gined, a code of Tartarian hws. 'I’hat very 
learned man appears to have made a worfe mif- 
take in giving us for Mongal charaders a page 
of writing, which has the appearance of "Ja- 
panefc, or mutilated Chinefe, letters. 

If the Tartars in general, as we have every 
reafon to believe, had no written memorials, it 
cannot be thought wonderful, that their lan^ 


gihiges, like thofe of America, fhould have been 
ia perpetual fluctuation, and that more than fifty 
dialects, as Hydk had been credibly informed, 
fliould be fpoken between Mofcoiv and China, by 
the many kindred tribes or their feveral branches, 
which are enumerated by Auu ’lgh a'zi'. What 
thofe diaieCts are, and whether they really fprang 
from a common flock, we fliall probably learn 
from Mr. Pallas, and other indefatigable men 
employed by the Rujftan court ; and it is from 
the Riijlians, that w e muft expeCt the mofl ac- 
curate information concerning their Afialick 
fubjeCts : I perfuade myfclf, that, if their in- 
quiries be judicioufly made and faithfully re- 
ported, the rcfult of them will prove, that all 
the languages properly Tartarian arofe from one 
common fource ; excepting always the jargons 
of fuch w'andcreft or mountaineers, as^ having 
long been divided from the main body of the 
nation, muft in a courfc of ages have framed fe- 
parate idioms for thcmfclves. The only T'ar- 
tarian language, of which I have any know- 
ledge, is the Turkijb of Conjlnntinople, which is 
however fo copious, that whoever fhall know it 
pcrfcClly, will calily underftaud, as we are aflTured 
by intelligent authors, the diaJeCls of Tatarijlati', 
and we may colleCl from Ahu lgiia zi', that he 
W'ould find little difficulty in the Cahnac and the 
Mogul : I will not oftend your ears by a dry ca- 



talogue of fiinilar words in thofe different Ian'" 
guages i but a careful inveftigation has convinced 
me, that, as the Indian and Arabian tongues are 
feverally defeended from a' common parent, fo 
thofe of Tartary might be traced to one ancient 
flem effcntially differing from the two others. It 
appears, indeed, from a ftory told by Abu ’l- 
gha'zi', that the Virdis and the Mongals could 
not underftand each other ; but no more can the 
Danes and the EngliJ}.), yet their dialcds beyond 
a doubt arc branches of the fame Guthick tree. 
The dialect of the Moguls, in which fomc hiflo- 

rles of Taimu'k and his defeendants were ori- 


ginally compofed, is called in India, where a 
learned native let me right when I uled another 
w'ord, Turd ; not that it is precil'ely the fame 
w'ith the TurkiJJj of the Othmdnlu s, but the two 
idioms differ, perhaps, lei's thftn Swedijh and 
German, or Spanijb and Porluguefe, and cer- 
tainly lefs than IFelcb and Irijh : in hope of af- 
certaining this point, I have long fcarched in 
vain for the original works aferibed to Taimur 
and Ba ber ; but all the Moguls, with whom I 
have converfed in this country, refemble the 
drow in one of their popular fables, who, having 
long affeded to wall^ like a phealant, was unable 
after all to acquire the graccfulncfs of that ele- 
gant bird, and in the mean time unlearned his 


ov/n natural gait : they have not learned the dia* 
le^l of Perfidy but have wholly forgotten that of 
their anceftors. A very confiderable part of the 
Old Tartarian language, which in jifia would 
probably have been loft, is happily preferved in 
Europr ; and, if ihe groundwork of the weftern 
Turkifh, when feparated from the Perjian and 
Arabick^ with which it is embellifhcd, be a 
branch of the loft ( )ghuzian tongue, I can aflert 
with confidence, that it has not the Icaft refem- 
blance cither to Arahick or Sanjerit, and muft 
have been invented by a race of men wholly 
diftincl from the Arabs or Hindus. This fa£t 
;ilone overfets the fyftem of M. B a illy, who 
confiders the Sanferit, of which he gives in fe- 
veral places a moft erroneous account, as ‘ a ft nr. 
‘ momnneni of his primeval Scythians, the precep- 

* tors of mankind and planters of a fublinie phi- 

* hfopby even in India for he holds it an incon- 
tcftable truth, that a language, which is dead, 
Juppofes a nation, which is dejlroyed; and he 
feems to think fuch reafoning perfedly decifive 
of the queftion, without having rccourfe to aftro- 
nomical arguments or the fpirit of ancient infti- 
tutions : for my part, I defire no better proof 
than that, which the language of the Brahmans 
affords, of an immemorial and total difference 
between the Savages of the Mountains, as the old 



Chhii’fe juftly called the Tartars^ and the ftu- 
dious, placid, contemplative inhabitants of thefe 
Indian plains. 

n. The rcafoning ofM. Bailly 
may, perhaps, be thought equally lhallow, if not 
ioconfiftent in fome degree with itfclf. ‘ An 
‘ adoration of the fun and of fire, fays he, mull 
‘ necelfarily have arifen in a cold region : therc- 
‘ fore, it muft have been foreign to India, Per- 
^ Jia, Arabia-, therefore, it muft have been de- 
‘ rived from Tartary.' No man, I believe, who 
has travelled in winter through Eahdr, or'has 
even palled a cold fcafon at Calcutta within ,thc 
tropick, can doubt that the folar warmth is often 
defirable by all, and might have been conlidcred 
as adorable by the ignorant, in thefe climates, or 
that the return of fpring deferves all the faluta- 
tions, which it receives from the Perjian and 
Indian poets; not to rely on certain hiftorical 
evidence, that Antarah, a celebrated warriour 
and bard, actually periftied with cold on a moun- 
tain of Arabia. To meet, however, an objec- 
tion, which might naturally be made to the vo- 
luntary fettlement, and amazing population, of 
his primitive race in the icy regions of the north, 
he takes refuge in tha hypothelis df M. Buffon, 
v,rho imagines, that our whole globe was at firft 
of a white heat, and has been gcadually cooling 
from the poles to the equator j fo that the Ify- 



ferborean countries had once a delightful tem-* 
perature, and Siberia itfelf was even hotter than 
the climate of our temperate zones, that is, was in 
too hot a climate, by his firft propofition, for the 
primary worfhip of the fun. That the tempe- 
rature of countries has not fuftained a change in 
the lapfe of ages, I will by no means infill ; but 
we can hardly reafon conclulively from a va- 
riation of temperature to the cultivation and dif- 
fufion of fcience : if as many female elephants 
and tigrefles, as we now find in Bengal, had 
formerly littered in the Siberian forells, and if 
their young, as the earth cooled, had fought a 
genial warmth in the climates of the fouth, it 
would not follow, that other favages, who mi- 
grated in the fame direction and on the fame 
account, brought religion and philofophy, lan- 
gut^e arid writing, art and fcience^ into the 
fouthern latitudes. 

We are told by Abu'’lgha'zi', that the pri- 
mitive religion of human creatures, or the pure 
adoration of One Creator, prevailed in Tartary 
during the firft generations from Ya'JJt, but 
was extind: before the birth of Oghu'z, who 
reftored it in his dominions ; that, fome ages 
after him, the -Mongals and the Turcs relapfed 
into grofs idolatry ;■ but that Chengiz was a 
Theift, and, in a converfation with the Muham- 
medan Dodors, admitted their arguments for 



the being and attributes of the Deity to be un- 
anfwerable, while he contefted the evidence of 
their Prophet’s legation. From old Grecian 
authorities we learn, that ‘the Majftigetce wor- 
fliippcd the fun ; and the narrative of an em- 
bafly from Justin to the Kbakan, or Emperor, 
who then refided in a fine vale near the fource 
of the Irtipj, mentions the Tartarian ceremony 
of purifying the Roman Ambafladors by con- 
ducting them between two fires: the Tartars 
of that age are reprefented as adorers of xht four 
elements, and believers in an invifiblc fpirit, to 
whom they facrificed bulls and rams. Modern 
travellers relate, that, in the fcftivals of fome 
Tartarian tribes, they pour a few drops of a 
confecrated liquor on the ftatues of their Godsj 
after which an attendant fprinkles a little of what 
remains three times toward the*fouth in honour 
of fire, toward the weft and eaft in honour of 
water and air, and as often toward the north in 
honour of the earth, which contained the reliques 
•of their deceafed anceftors : now all this may 
be very true, ‘Without proving a national affinity 
between the Tartars and Hindus ; for the Arabs 
adored the planets and the powers of nature, the 
Arabs had carved images, and made libations on 
a black ftone, the Arabs turned in prayer to 
different quarters of the heavens ; yet we know 
writh certainty, that the Arabs are a diftinCf race 


from the Tartars ; and we might as well infer, 
that they were the fame people, becaufe they 
had each their Nomades, or wanderers for paf- 
turey and becaufe thd Turcmam, defcribed by 
Ibnu Arabsh'ah and by him called Tatar's,, 
are, like moft Arabian tribes, paftoral and war- 
like, hofpitable and generous, wintering and 
fummering on different plains, and rich in herds 
and flocks, horfes and camels ; but this agreement 
in manners proceeds from the fimilar nature of 
their feveral deferts and their fimilar choice of a 
free rambling life, without evincing a com- 
munity of origin, which they could fcarce have 
had without preferving fome remnant at leaft of 
a common language. 

Many Lamas, we are affured, or Priefts of 
Buddha, have been found fettled in Siberia’, 
but it can hardly be doubted, that the Lamas 
had travelled thither from Tibet, whence it is 
more than probable, that the religion of the 
Bauddha's was imported into fouthern, or Chi- 
nefc. Tartary', fince we know, that rolls of 
Tibetian writing have been brought even from 
the borders of the Cajpian. The complexion 
of Buddha himfelf, which, according to the 
Hindus, was between white and ruddy, would 
perhaps have convinced M. Bailly, had he 
known the Indian tradition, that the lall great 
legiflator and God of the Eaft was a Tartar’, 


but tht Chinee coafider him 9s a native of India, 
the Brahmans iuiift, that he was bom in a foreft 
near Gaya, and many reafons may lead us to 
fufpe£t, that his religion was carried from the 
weft and the fouth to thofe eaftern and northern 
countries, in which it prevails. On the whole 
we meet with few or no traces in Scythia of 
Indian rites and fuperftitions, or of that poetical 
mythology, with which the Sanfcrit poems are 
decorated ; and we may allow the Tartars to 
have adored the Sun with more reafon than any 
fouthern people, without admitting them to have 
been the foie original inventors of that univerfal 
folly : we may even doubt the originality* of 
their veneration for the four elements, which 
forms a principal part of the ritual introduced 
by Zer'atusht, a native of Rai in Perfia, born 
in the reign of Gushtasp, whcjfe fon.PAsn'u- 
TEN is believed by the Pdrji's to have refided 
long in Tartary at a place called Cangidirs, 
where a magnificent palace is faid to have been 
built by the father of Cyrus, and where the 
Perfian prince, who was a zealot in the new 
faith, would naturally have difleminated its tenets 
among the neighbouring Tartars. 

Of any Philofophy, except natural Ethicks, 
which the rudeft fociety requires and experience 
teaches, we find no more veftiges in Jjiatick 
Scythia than in ancient Arabia ; nor wpuld the 

VOL. I. I 



name of a Philofopher and a Scythian have been 
ever conneded, if Anacharsis had not vifited 
Athens and Lydia for that inftrudion, which 
his birthplace could- not have afforded him : but 
Anacharsis was the fon of a Grecian woman, 
who had taught him her language, and he foon 
learned to defpife his own. He was unquef- 
tionably a man of a found underftanding and line 
parts ; and, among the lively liiyings, which 
gained him the reputation of a wit even in 
Greece, it is related by Diogenes Laertius, 
that, when an Athenian reproached him with 
being a Scythian^ he anfwered : ‘ my country 
‘ is, indeed, a difgrace to me, but thou art a 
* difgrace to thy country.’ What his country 
was, in regard to manners and civil duties, w'e 
may learn from his fate in it ; for when, on his 
return from A{y.hens^ he attempted to reform it 
by introducing the wife laws of his friend Solon, 
he was killed on a hunting party with an arrow 
{hot by his own brother, a Scythian Chieftain. 
Such was the philofophy of M. Bailly’s At- 
lanteSy the firft and moft enlightened of nations ! 
We are affured, however, by the learned author 
of the Dabijian, that the Tartars under Chen- 
ciz and his defeendants were lovers of truth j 
and would not even pre'ferve their lives by a 
violation of it : De Guignes aferibes the fame 
veracity, the parent of all virtues, to the Huns j 



and Strabo, who might only mean to lafh the 
Greeks by praifing Barbarians, as Horace ex- 
tolled the wandering Scythians merely to fatirize 
his luxurious countrymen,* informs us, that the 
nations of Scythia deferved the praife due to 
wifdom, heroick friendfhip, and juftice ; and 
this praife we may readily allow them on his 
authority, without fuppofing them to have been 
the preceptors of mankind. 

As to the laws of Zamolxis, concerning 
whom we know as little as of the Scythian Deu- 
c ALTON, or of Abaris the Hyperborean^ and to 
whofe ftory even Herodotus gave no credit, I 
lament, for many reafons, that, if ever they exift- 
ed, they have not been preferved : it is certain, 
that a fyftem of laws, called Tdfdc, has been 
celebrated in Tartary fince the time of ChengiZ, 
who is faid to have republifljed. them in his 
empire, a^ his inftitutions were afterwards adopt- 
ed and enforced byTAiMu'R; but they feem 
to have been a common, or traditionary, law, 
and were probably not reduced into writing, 
till Chengiz had conquered a nation, who 
were able to write. 

. III. Had the religious opinions and allegorical 
fables of the Hindus been adually borrowed 
from Scythia, travellers muft have difeovered In 
that country fome ancient monuments of them, 
fuch as pieces of grotefque fculpture, images of 


the Gods and Avatars^ and inlcriptions on pillars 
or in caverns, analogous to thofe, which remain 
in every part of the weftern peninfula, or to 
thofe, which many of us have feen in Bahar and 
at Bandras ; but (except a few detached idols) the 
only great monuments of Tartarian antiquity are 
a line of ramparts on the weft and eaft of the CaJ^ 
plan, afcribed indeed by ignorant Mujelmans 
to Tdjuj and Mdjuj, or Gog and Magog, that is 
to the Scythians, but manifeftly raifed by a very 
different nation in order to flop their predatory 
inroads through the pafles of Caucafus. The 
Cbincfi’ wall was built or finifhed, on a limilar 
cohftrudlion and for a fimilar purpofe, by an 
Emperor, who died only two hundred and ten 
years before the beginning of our era ; and the 
other mounds were very probably conftrudred 
by the old Perjans, though, like many works 
of unknown origin, they are given to Secan- 
DER, not the Macedonian, but a more ancient 
Hero fuppofed by fome to have been Jemshi'd. 
It is related, that pyramids and tombs have been 
found in Tdtdrijldn, or weftern Scythia, and 
fome remnants of edifices in the lake Saifan; 
that veftiges of a deferted city have been recent- 
ly difcovered by the RiiJJians near the Cafpian 


fea, and the Mountain of Eagles j and that 
golden ornaments and utenfils, figures of elks 
and other quadrupeds in metal, weapons of 


various kinds, and even Implements for mining, 
but made of copper inftead of iron, have been 
dug up in the country of ^he TJhudh ; whence 
M. Bailly infers, with great reafon, the high 
antiquity of that people : but the high antiquity 
of the TjitarSy and their eftablifliraent in that 
country near four thoufand years ago, no man 
difputes i we are inquiring into their ancient 
religion and philofophy, which neither orna- 
ments of gold, nor tools of copper, will prove 
to have had an affinity with the religious rites 
and the fciences of India. The golden utenfils 
might polfibly have been fabricated by the Tar~ 
tars themfelves ; but it is poflible too, that they 
were carried from Rome or from China, whence 
occafional embaffies were fent to the Kings of 
Eighiir. Towards the end of the tenth century 
the Chinefe Emperor difpatched an ambaflador 
to a Prince, named Ersl a'n, which, in the Turk- 
ijb of Conflantinople, fignifies a lion, who refided 
near the Golden Mountain in the fame ftation, 
perhaps, where the Romans had been received 
in the middle of the fixth century ; the Chinefe 
on his return home reported the Eighuris to be 
a grave people, with fair complexions, diligent 
workmen, and ingenious artificers not only in 
gold, filver, and iron, but in jafper and fine 
ftones ; and the Remans had before defcribed 
their magnificent reception in a rich palace 


adorned with Cbinefe manufactures : but tbefe 
times were comparatively modern ; and, even 
if we (hould admit, that the Eighiins, who are 
faid to have been governed for a period of two 
thoufand years by an Idecict, o' fovereign of 
their owm race, were in feme very early age 
a literary and poliilred nation, it vrould prove 
nothing in favour of the Huns, Turcs, Mongols, 
and other favages to the north of Pekin, who 
feem in all ages, before MuHAMMiiD, to have 
been equally ferocious and illiterate. 

Without actual infpeCtion of the manuferipts, 
that have been found near the Cufpian, it would 
be impoffible to give a correCt opinion concern- 
ing them ; but one of them, deferibed as written 
on blue filky paper in letters of gold and filver 
not unlike Hebrew, was probably a Tihetian 
compofition of the fame kind with that, which 
lay near the fource of the Irlijh, and of which 
Cassiano I believe, made the firft accurate 
verfion : another, if we may judge from the de- 
feription of it, was probably modern TurkiJJj ; 
and none of them could have been of great 

IV. From ancient monuments, therefore, we 
have no proof, that the Tartars were them- 
felves well-inftruCted, much lefs that they in- 
ftru^ed the world j nor have we any ftrongcr 
jreafon to conclude from their general man- 



ncrs and charafler, that they had rqade an 
early proficiency in arts and fcienccs : even of 
poetry, the moft univerfal and moft natural of 
the fine arts, we find no genuine fpecimens af- 
cribed to them, except fome horrible warfongs 
exprefled in Parfian by Ali' of Tezd, and 
poflibly invented by him. After the conqueft 
of Pcrfta by the Mongals, their princes, indeed, 
encouraged learning, and even made aftrono- 
inical obfervations at Samarkand ; as the Turcs 
became polifhed by mixing with the Perfians 
and Arabs, though their very nature, as one of 
their own writers confefles, bad before been like 
an incur alle diftemper, and their minds clouded 
xvith ignorance : thus alfo the Mancheu monarchs 
of China have been patrons of the learned and 
ingenious, and the Emperor Tien-Long is, if 
he be now, living, a fine Chinefe poet. In all 
thefe inftances the Tartars have refemWed the 
Romans, who, before they had fubdued Greece, 
w'ere little better than tigers in war, and Fauns 
or Sylvans in fcience and art. 

Before I left Europe, I had infilled in con- 
verfation, that the Tuzuc, tranllated by Major 
Davy, was never w'ritten by Taimu'r himfelf, 
ex lead not as Cjesar wrote his commentaries, 
for one very plain reafon, that no Tartarian king 
of his age could write at all ; and, in fupport of 
my opinion, I had cited Ibnu Arabsha'h, who. 



though juftly hofti'Ie to the favage, by whom 
his native city, DamafcuSy had been ruined, yet 
praifes his talents and the real greatnefs of his 
mind, but adds : He was wholly illiterate ; he 
neither read nor wrote any thing ; and he 
“ knew nothing of Arahick ; though of Perfian, 
“ Turkijb, and the Mogul dialedt, he knew as 
“ much as was fuffieient for his purpofe, and no 
“ more : he ufed with pleafure to hear hiftories 
" read to him, and fo frequently heard the fame 
“ book, that he was able by memory to correft 
" an- inaccurate reader.” This paflage had no 
efieA on the tranflator, whom great and learned 
men in India had ajfuredy it feems, that the work 
was authentick^ by which he meaned compofed 
by the conqueror bimfelf: but the great in this 
country might have been unlearned, or the learn- 
ed might not have been great enough jto anfwer 
any leading queftion in a manner that oppofed 
the declared inclination of a Britijh inquirer; 
and, in either cafe, fmce no witneffes are named, 
fo general a reference to them will hardly be 
thought conclufive evidence. On my part, I 
will name a Mufelman, whom we all know, and 
who has enough both of greatnefs and of learn- 
ing to decide the queftion both impartially and 
fatisfadoiily : the Nawwab Mozaffer Jang 
informed me of his own accord, that no man of 
fenfe in Hindujtdn believed the work to have 



been compofed by Taimu’r, but that his fa- 
vourite, furnamed Hindu Sha’h, was known 
to have written that book and others aicribed to 
his patron, after many confidential difcourfeswith 
the Emh~^ and, perhaps, nearly in the f'rince’s 
words as well as in his perfon ; a ftory. which 
Ali' of Tezd^ who attended the court of Tai- 
MU R, and has given us a flowery panegyrick in- 
fiead of a hiftory, renders highly probable, by 
confirming the latter part of the Arabiar, account, 
and by total filence as to the literary produdfions 
of his mafter. It is true, that a very ingenious 
but indigent native, whom Davy fupported,^ has 
given me a written memorial on the fubjedt, in 
which he mentions Taimu r as the author of 
two works in Turkijh ; but the credit of his in- 
formation is overfet by a ftrangc apocryphal 
ftory of asking of Temetiy who Invaded, he lays, 
the Emir’s dominions, and in whole library the 
manufeript was afterwards found, and tranllated 
by order of Ali shir, firrt miniller of Tai- 
mu r’s grandfon ; and Major Davy himfelf, be- 
fore he departed from Bengal, told me, that he 
was greatly perplexed by finding in a very ac- 
curate and old copy of the Tuzuc, which he dc- 
figned to republifli with conliderable additions, 
a particular account, written unquejlionably by 
Taimu'r, of his own death. No evidence, 
therefore, has been adduced to fhake my opinion. 


that, the Moguls and Tartars, before their con- 
(jueft of India and Perjia, were wholly unlet- 
tered ; although it may be poflible, that, even 
without art or fcience, they had, like the Huns, 
both warriours and lawgivers in th^r own 
country fome centuries before the birth of 

If learning was ever anciently cultivated in the 
regions to the north of India, the feats of it, I have 
reafon to fufped:, rnufl: have been Eigbiir, Cajb- 
ghar, Kbata, Chin, Tanciit, and other countries 
ciCbinefe Tartary, which lie between the thirty- 
fifth„and forty-fifth degrees of northern latitude ; 
but I fhall, in another difeourfe, produce my 
reafons for fuppofmg, that thofe very countries 
were peopled by a race allied to the Hindus, or 
enlightened at leaft by their vicinity to India 
and China ; yet in Tanciit, which by fofne is an- 
nexed to Tibet, and even among its old inha- 
bitants, the Seres, we have no certain accounts of 
uncommon talents or great improvements; they 
were famed, indeed, for the faithful difeharge of 
moral duties, for a paciiick difpolition, and for 
that longevity, which is often the rew^ard of 
patient virtues and a calm temper ; but they are 
faid to have been wholly indifferent, in former 
ages, to the elegant arts and even to commerce ; 
though Fadlu’llah had been informed, that, 
near the dole of the tbirtcentb century, many 


branches of natural phllofophy were cultivated 
in Cam-cheu, then the metropolis of Serica. 

We may readily believe thofe, who afllirc us, 
that Ibme tribes of wandering Tartars had real 
fkill in applying herbs and minerals to the pur- 
pofes of medicine, and pretended to (kill in ma- 
gick ; but the general character of their nation 
feems to have been this : they were profefled hunt- 
ers or fifliers, dwelling on that account in forefts 
or near great rivers, under huts or rude tents, or 
in waggons drawn by their cattle from ftation to 
ftation ; they were dextrous archers, excellent 
horfemen, bold combatants, appearing often to 
flee in diforder for the fake of renewing their 
attack with advantage ; drinking the milk of 
marcs, and eating the flefli of colts ; and thus 
in many refpedfs refembling the old jtrabs^ but 
in nothing more than in their Iftve of intoxicat- 
ing liquors, and in nothing lefs than in a tafte 
for poetry and the improvement of their lan- 

Thus has it been proved, and, in my humble 
opinion, beyond controverfy, that the far greater 
part of y4jia has been peopled and immemorially 
pofleffed by three confiderable nations, whom, 
for want of better njmes, we may call Hindus^ 
Arabs, and 'Tartars j each of them divided and 
fubdivided into an infinite number of branches, 
and all of them fo dififerent in form and features, 


language', manners and religion, that, if they 
fprang originally from a common root, they muft 
have been feparated for ages : whether more 
than three primitive frocks can be found, or, in 
other words, whether the Chinefey Japanefe^ and 
Perjians, are entirely difrind from them, or 
formed by their intermixture, I fhall hereafter, 
if your indulgence to me continue, diligently in- 
quire. To what conclufions thefe inquiries will 
lead, I cannot yet clearly difcern ; but, if they 
lead to truth, we fhall not regret our journey 
through this dark region of ancient hifrory, in 
whjch, while we proceed ftep by ftep, and follow 
every glimmering of certain light, that prefents 
itfelf, we mufr beware of thofe falfe rays and 
luminous vapours, which miflead AJiatick tra- 
vellers by an appearance of water, but are found 
on a near approach to be deferts of faqd. 



ON Tli^ 




I TURN with delight from the vaft mountains 
and barren deferts of Turdn, over which we tra- 
velled laft year with no perfe<9; knowledge of our 
courfe, and requeft you now to accompany me 
on a literary journey through one -of "the moil 
celebrated ’ and moil beautiful countries in the 
world ; a country, the hiftory and languages of 
which, both ancient and modern, I have long 
attentively ftudied, and on which I may without 
arrogance promife you more pofitive informa- 
tion, than I could poflibly procure on a na- 
tion fo difunited and fo unlettered as the Tar- 
tars: I mean that, which Europeans improperly 
call Perjia, the name of a fingle province being 
applied to the whole Empire of Irdn, as it is cor- 
redly denominated by the prefent natives of it, 


and by all the learned Mufelmam, who refide in 
thefe Britijh territories. To give you an idea 
of its largeft boundaries, agreeably to my former 
mode of defcribing India, Arabia, and Tartary, 
between which it lies, let us begin with the fource 
of the great AJfyrian ftream, Euphrates, (as the 
Greeks, according to their cuftom, were pleafed 
to mifcall the Forat) and thence defcend to its 
mouth in the Green Sea, or Perfian Gulf, in- 
cluding in our line fome confiderable diftridts 
and towns on both hdes the river ; then coafting 
Perjia, properly fo named, and other Iranian 
provinces, we come to the delta of the Sindhu 
or 'Indus ‘ whence afeending to the mountains 
of Cajbghar, we difeover its fountains and thofe 
of the yaihiin, down which we are conducted 
to the Cafpian, which formerly perhaps it en- 
tered, though it; lofe itfelf now in the fands and 
lakes of Khwdrezm : we next are led from the 
fea of Khozar, by the banks of the Cur, or Cy- 
tus, and along the Caucafean ridges, to the fliore 
of the Euxine, and thence, by the feveral Grecian 
feas, to the point, whence we took our departure, 
at no confiderable diftance from the Mediterra^ 
nean. We cannot but include the lower AJIa 
within this outline, becaufe it was unqueftionably 
a part of the Perfian, if not of the old AJfyrian, 
Empire; for we know, that it was under the 
dominion of Caikhosrau; and Diodorus, wc 



find, aflferts, that the kingdom of Troas was de- 
pendent on AJfyria, fince Priam implored and 
obtained fuccours from his EmperorTEUTAMES, 
whofe name approaches nearer to Tahmu'ras, 
than to that of any other AJfyrian monarch. 
Thus may we look on h'on as the nobleft IJla7idf 
(for fo the Greeks and the Arabs would have 
called it), or at leaft as the nobleft pcnmfula^ on. 
this habitable globe; and if M. Bailey had 
fixed on it as the Atlantis of Plato, he might 
have fiipported his opinion with far ftronger 
arguments than any, that he has adduced in 
favour of New Zembla : if the account, indeed, 
of the Atlantes be not purely an Egyptian^ or an 
Utopian^ fable, I fhould be more inclined to 
place them in Iran than in any region, with 
which I am acquainted. 

It may feem ftrange, that the ancient hiftory 
of fo diftlnguifhed an Empire fhould be yet fo 
imperfedlly known ; but very fatisfa^lory reafons 
may be affigned for our ignorance of it: the 
principal of them arc the fuperficial knowledge 
of the Greeks and JewSy and the lofs of Pcrfian 
archives or hiftorical compofitions. That the 
Grecian writers, before Xenophon, had no sic- 
quaintance with Perjia, and that all their ac- 
counts of it are wholly fabulous, is a paradox too 
extravagant to be ferioufly maintained j but their 
connexion with it in war or peace had, indeed. 



been generally conSned to bordering kingdoms 
under feudatory princes; and the firft Perjiatt 
Emperor, whofe life and charadler they feem to 
have known with tolerable accuracy, was the 
great Cyrus, whom I call, without fear of con- 
tradidtion, Cajkhosrau j for I ftiall then only 
doubt that the Khosrau of Firdausi' was the 
Cyrus of the firft Greek hiftorian, and the Hero 
of the oldcft political and moral romance, when 
I doubt that Louis Quatorze and Lewis the 
Fourteenth were one and the fame French King : 
it is utterly incredible, that two different princes 
of Perfia fhould each have been born in a foreign 
and hoftile territory ; Ihould each have been 
doomed to death in his infancy by his maternal 
grandfather in confequence of portentous dreams, 
real or invented ; fhould each have been faved 
by the r^morfe< of his deftined murderer, and 
fhould each, after a fimilar educatio'n among 
herdfmen, as the fon of a herdfman, have found 
means to revifit his paternal kingdom, and 
having delivered it, after a long and triumphant 
war, from the tyrant, who had invaded it, fhould 
have reftored it to the fummit of power and 
magnificence. Whether fo romantic k. a ftory, 
which is the fubjedl of an Epick Poem, as ma- 
jcftick and entire as the lliad^ be hiftorically 
true, we may feel perhaps an inclination to 
doubt; but it cannot with reafon be denied. 



that the outline of it related to a fingle Hero, 
whom the AJiatickSf converfing with the father 
of European hiftory, defcribed according to their 
popular traditions by his true name, which the 
Greek alphabet could not exprefs : nor will a dif- 
ference of names affedt the queftion ; fmce the 
Greeks had little regard for truth, which they 
facrijiced willingly to the Graces of their lan- 
guage, and the nicety of their ears ; and, if they 
could render foreign words melodious, they were 
never felicitous to make them exa£t ; hence they 
probably formed CAMBYsivsfromCA'MBAKUSH, 
or Granting dejires, a title rather than a name, 
and Xerxes from Shi'ru'yi, a Prince and war- 
riour in the Shdhndmah, or from Shi'rsha'h, 
which might alfo have been a title ; for the AJia- 
tick Princes have conftantly affumed new titles 
or epithets at different periods of their' lives, or 
on different occafions ; a cuftom, which we have 
feen prevalent in our own times both in Iran and 
Hindujldnf and which has been a fource of great 
confufion even in the fcriptural accounts of Ba- 
byhnian occurrences : both Greeks and Jeivs 
have in fa<3: accommodated Perjian names tp 
their own articulation ; and both feem to have 
difregarded the native literature of Irduy without 
which they could at moft attain a general and 
imperfed knowledge of the country. As to the 
Perjians themfelves, who were contemporary 

VOL. I, K 


can hardly fuppofc the firft Indian monarchs to 
have reigned lef? than three thoufand years ago, 
yet Verjia-y the moft delightfulj the moft corn- 
pad, the moft defirable country of them all, 
fliould have lemained for fo many ages unfettled 
and difunited. A fortunate difeovery, for which 
I was firft indebted to Mir Mu hammed Hu- 
sain, one of the lUoft intelligent Mufehnans in 
IndlUy has at once diflipated the cloud, and caft 
a gleam of light on the primeval hiftory of Iran 
and of the human race, of which I had long de- 
fpaired, and which could hardly have dawned 
from any other quarter. 

The rare and intcrefting trad on twelve dif- 
ferent religionSy entitled the Dabifan, and com- 
pofed by a Mohammedan traveller, a native of 
Cajhrniry named Mohs an, but diftinguilhed by 
the affumed lurname of Fa'ni', or Perijbable, 
begins with a wonderfully curious chapter on 
the religion of Hu'shang, which was long an- 
terior to that of ZerA'Tush T, but had continued 
to be fecretly profefled by many learned Perfatis 
even to the author’s time ; and feveral of the 
moft eminent of them, diflenting in many points 
■from the Gabrs, and perfecuted by the rulmg 
.powers of their country, had retired to India i 
where they compiled a number of books, now* 
extremely fcarce, which Mohs an had perufed, 
and with the writers of which, or with many of 



them, he had contrafted an intimate frlendfhip : 
from them he learned, that a powerful monarchy 
liad been eftablilhed for ages in Iran before the 
acceflion of Cayu mers, that it was called the 
Mahdbddian dynafty, for a reafon which will 
fooH be mentioned, and that many princes, of 
whom feven or eight only are named in the Da-^ 
bijldn, and among them Mahbul, or Maha' 
Beli, had raifed their empire to the zenith of 
iiuman glory. If we can rely on this evidence, 
which to me appears unexceptiom.blc, the Ira- 
nian monarchy mufl: have been the oldeft in the 
world i but it will lemain dubious, to which of 
the three ftocks, Ilhidu^ Aral'um, or Tartar, the 
firft Kings of Irdti belonged, or whether they 
fprang from z fourth race diftinifi from any of 
the others ; and thefe are queftions, which we 
ihall be able, I imagine, to anfwer prccifely, 
when we have carefully inquired into the lan- 
guages and letters, religion and phihfopby, and 
incid entally into the arts and fciences, of the an- 
cient Verjians. 

I. In the new and important remarks, which 
I am going to offer, on the ancient languages and 
‘charaSiers of Iran, I am fenfible, that you mull 
give me credit for many affertions, ■Which on this 
occafion it is impoffible to prove ; fpr I fhould 
ill deferve your indulgent attention, if I were to 
abufe it by repeating a dry lift of detached words, 


and prefenting you with a vocabulaty iirftead' df 
a differtation ; but, fince I have no fyftem tO 
maintain, and have, not fuiFered imagination to 
delude my judgement; fince I have habituated 
myfelf to form opinions of men and things from 
evidence, which is the only folid bafis of civil, 
as experiment is of natural, knowledge ; and 
fince I have maturely confidered the qucftions 
which I mean to difcufs ; you will not, I am 
perfuaded, fufpe(Sl my teftimony, or think that 
I go too far, when I aflure you, that I will alTert 
nothing pofitively, which I am not able fatis- 
factorily to demonftrate. When Muhammed 
was born, and Anu'shi'rava'n, whom he calls 
the JuJi King, fat on the throne of Perjia, two 
languages appear to have been generally pre- 
valent in the great empire of Iran ; that of the 
Court, thence named Deri, which .was only a 
refined and elegant dialed^ of the Pdrsi, fo called 
from tfie province, of which Shiraz is now the 
capital, and that of the learned, in which moll 
books were compofed, and which had the name 
of Pablavi, either from the heroes, who fpoke it 
in former times, or from Pahlu, a trafl of land, 
which included, we are told, fome confiderable 
pities of Irak: the ruder* dialects of both were, 
and, I believe, Hill are, fpoken by the rufticks in 
fisveral provinces; and in many of them, as 
Herat, Zdbul, Sijidn and others, difrindt idioms 



were vernacular, as it happens in every kingdom 
of great extent. Befides the Piirsi and Pahlavi^ 
a very ancient and abftrufe tongue was known 
to theprieftsand philolbphers,called the language 
of the Zendy becaufe a book on religious and 
moral duties, which they held facred, and which 
bore that name, had been written in it ; while 
the Pdzend, or comment on that work, was 
compofed in Pahlax’i, as a more popular idiom ; 
but a learned follower of Zera'tusht, named 
B AMMAN, who lately died at Calcuita, where 
he had lived with me as a Perjian reader about 
three years, alfured me, that the Utters of his 
prophet’s book were properly called Zend, and 
the language, Avejid, as the words of the Veda's 
are Sanferit, and the charadiers, Ndgar 'r ; or as 
the old Saga's and poems of Ifeland w'ere ex- 
prelTed in liiinick letters: let us however, in 
compliance with cuftom, give the name of Zend 
to the "facred language of Perjia, until we can 
find, as we fliall very foon, a fitter appellation 
for it. The Zend and the old Pablaxu are almoft 
extinct in Iran ; for among fix or feven thoufand 
Gubrs, who relide chiefly at Tezd, and in 
Cirmdn, there are very few, who can read Pah- 
laviy and fcarce any, who even boaft of knowing 
the Zend ; while the Pars), which remains 
almoft pure in the Sbdhndmah, has now become 
by the intermixture of numbcrlefs Arahkk words, 



and many imperceptible changes, a new language 
ejcquifitely poliflied by a feries of fine writers in 
profe and vcrfe, and analogous to the different 
idioms gradually formed in Europe after the fub-' 
verfion of the Roman empire : but with modern 
Perjian we have no concern in our prefent in- 
quiry, which I confine to the ages, that preceded 
the Mohammedan conqueft. Having twice read 
the works of Firdausi' with great attention, 
fince I applied myfelf to the ftudy of old Indian 
literature, I can affure you with confidence, that 
hundreds of Pdrs'i nouns are pure Sanferit, with 
no other change than fuch as may be obferved 
in'the numerous hbajha's, or vernacular dialefts, 
of India j that very many Perfian imperatives 
are the roots of Sanferit verbs ; and that even 
the moods and tenfes of the Perfian verb fub- 
ftantive, which .'s the model of all the reft, are 
deducible from the Sanferit by an eafy and clear 
analogy : we may hence conclude, that the Pdrs't 
was derived, like the various Indian dialects, 
from the language of the Brahman^', and I muft 
add, that in the pure Perfan I find no trace of 
auy Arabian tongue, except what proceeded 
from the known intercourfe between the Per-, 
fans and Arabs, efpecially in the time of Bah- 
ra'm, who was educated in Arabia, and whofe 
4rabick verfes are ftill extant, together with his 
heroick line in Deri, which many fuppofe to b? 


the firft attempt at Perjian verfification in Ara* 
bian metre : but, without having recourfe to 
other arguments, the compojition of voords^ in 
which the genius of the Perjian delights, and 
which that of the Arabick abhors, is a decifive 
proof, that the Pdrs'i fprang from an Indian, and 
not from an Arabian, ftock. Confidering lan- 
guages as mere inftruments of knowledge, and 
having flrong reafons to doubt the exiftence of 
genuine books in Zend or Pahlavi (efpecially 
fince the well-informed author of the Dabijidn 
affirms the wortc of Zera tusht to have been 
loft, and its place fupplied hy a recent com- 
pilation) 1 had no inducement, though I had an 
opportunity, to learn what remains of thofe an- 
cient languages ; but I often coiiverfed on them 
with my friend Bahman, and both of us were 
convinced after full confideratidn, that the Zend 
bore a ftrong refemblance to Sanfcrit, and the 
Pahlavi to Arabick. He had at my requeft 
tranllated into Pahlavi the fine infcription, ex- 
hibited in the Gulijldn, on the diadem of Cy- 
rus ; and I had the patience to read the lift of 
words from the Pdzend in the appendix to the 
Farhangi Jehdngiri : this examination gave me 
perfect convi(ftion, that the Pahlavi was a dialed 
of the Chaldaick j and of this curious fadl I will 
exhibit a fhort proof. By the nature of the 
Chaldean tongue moft words ended in the firft 



tong vowel like Jbemia, heaven ; and that very 
word, unaltered in a fingle letter, wc find in the 
Pazend, together with lailid, night, meyd, water, 
nird, fire, ntatra, rain, and a multitude of others, 
all Arabick or Hebrew with a Chaldean ter- 
mination: fo zamar, by a beaixtiful metaphor 
from pruning trees^ means in Hebrew to compoje 
verfeSy and thence, by an eafy tranlition, to fing 
them ; and in Pahlavt we fee the verb zam- 
runiteny to jing, with its forms zanrmemi, I 
jingy and zamrunidy he fang ; the verbal termi- 
nations of the Verfian being added to the Chal- 
daifk root. Now all thofe words are integral parts 
of the language, not adventitious to it like the 
Arabick nouns and verbals engrafted on modern 
Perfian ; and this diftindion convinces me, that 
the dialed of the Gabrs, which they pretend to 
be that of Zera'Vusht, and of which Bahman 
gave me a variety of written fpecimens, is a late 
invention of their priefts, or fubfequent at leaft 
to the Mufelman invalion ; for, although it may 
be poffible, that a few of their facred books were 
preferved, as he ufed to aflert, in fheets of lead 
or copper at the bottom of wells near Tezd, yet 
as the conquerors had not only a fpiritual, but a 
political, intereft in pcrfecutjng a warlike, robuft, 
and indignant race of irreconcilable conquered 
fubjeds, a long time rauft have elapled, before 
the hidden feriptures could have been fafely 



brought to light, ajwf few, who could perfeftly 
imderftand them, muft {hen have remained ; but, 
as they continued to profefs among themfelves 
the religion of their forefathers, it became ex- 
pedient for the Mubeds to fupply the loft or mu-» 
rilated works of their legiflator by new compo- 
fitions, partly from their imperfe£t recolledion, 
and partly from fuch moral and religious know- 
ledge, as they gleaned, moft probably, among 
the Chrijiiatis, with whom they had an inter- 
courfe. One rule we may fairly eftablifh in de- 
ciding the queftion, whether the books 6f the 
modern Gabrs were anterior to the invafion oF" 
the Arabs: when an Arabick noun occurs in 
them changed only by the fpirit of the Chaldean 
idiom, as iverta^ for iverd, a rofe, daba, for 
(Ibahab, gold, or deman^ for zeman, time, we may 
allow it, to have been ancient Pahhnn ; but, 
when we meet with verbal nouns or infinitives, 
evidently formed by the rules of Arabian gram- 
mar, we may be fure, that the phrafes, in which 
they occur, are comparatively modern ; and not 
a fingle paflage, which Bauman produced from 
the books of his religion, would abide this 

We come now to the language of the Zend\ 
and here I mull impart a difeovery, which I 
lately made, and from which we may draw the 
moft interefting confequences. M. Anquetil, 



who had the merit of undertaking a voyage to 
India^ in his earlieft youth, with no other view 
than to recover the writings of ZerA'TUSHT, 
and who would have acquired a brilliant re- 
putation in France, if he had not fullied it by 
his immoderate vanity and virulence of temper, 
W'hich alienated the good will even of his own 
countrymen, has exhibited in his work, entitled 
Zenddvejld, two vocabularies in Zend and Pah- 
lav't, which he had found in an approved col- 
lection of Rawdydt, or Traditional Pieces, in 
modern Perfian : of his Pahlavi no more needs 
be faid, than that it ftrongly confirms my opi- 
nion concerning the Cbaldaick origin of that 
language ; but, when I perufed the Zend glof- 
fary, I was inexpreflibly furprized to find, that 
fix or feven words in ten were pure Sanferit, 
and even fomc oPtheir inflexions formed by the 
rules of the Vydearan ; as yujhmdcam, the ge- 
nitive plural oiyuJJjmad, Now M. Anquetil 
mofl: certainly, and the Perjian compiler moft 
probably, had no knowledge of Sanferit’, and 
could not, therefore, have invented a lift of 
Sanferit words: it is, therefore, an authentick 
lift of Zend w^ords, wdiich had been preferved in 
books or by tradition ; and V follow^s, that the 
language of the Zend was at leaft a dialed: of 
the Sanferit, approaching perhaps as nearly to 
it as the Prdcrit, or other popular idioms, which 


1 19 

we know to have been fpoken in India, two 
thoufand years ago. From all thefe fadts it is 
a neceflary confequcnce, that the oldeft difcover- 
able languages of Perjid were Cbaldaick and 
Sanfcrit-, and that, w'hen they had ccafed to 
be vernacular, the Pablavi and Zerid were de- 
duced from them refpetStively, and the Pdrs'i 
cither from the Zend., or immediately from the 
dialedf of the Brdbmans ; but all had perhaps a 
mixture of Tartarian ; for the beft lexicographers 
alfert, that numberlefs words in ancient Perfian 
are taken from the language of the Cimmerians, 
or the Tartars of Kipebdk ; fo that the three fa=,- 
milies, whofe lineage we have examined in 
former difeourfes, had left vifible traces of them- 
felves in Iran, long before the Tartars and Arabs 
had rufhed from their deferts, and returned to 
that very country, from wdiick in all' probability 
they originally proceeded, and wdiich the Hindus 
had abandoned in an earlier age, with pofitivc 
commands from their legiflators to revifit it no 
more. I clofe this head with obferving, that no 
fuppofition of a mere political or commercial in- 
tercourfe between the different nations will ac- 
■ count for the Sanjerit and Cbaldaick words, 
which we find in the old Perjiflii tongues ; be- 
caufe they are, in the firft place, too numerous 
to have been introduced by fuch means, and, 
fecondly, are not the names of exotick animals. 


coramoditlcs, or art«, but thafe of material de- 
ments, parts of the body, natural objedbs and 
relations, affections of the mind, and other ideas 
common to the whole' race of man. 

If a nation of Hindus, k may be urged, ever 
pofTeffed and governed the country of Iran, we 
fhould find on the very ancient ruins of the 
temple or palace, now called the throne ^ Jem- 
sui'D., fome infcriptions in Hhandgari, or at 
leaft in tire characters on the ftones M Elephanta, 
where the fculpture is unqueftionably Indian, or 
in thofe on the Stiiff" of I'i'rv'z Sha'h, wluch 
in the heart of India ; and fuch infcriptions 
wc probably fliould have found, if that edifice 
had not been cieCted after the migration of the 
BTabmaas from Iran, and the violent fchifm in 
the Berjian religion, of which we fliall prefently 
fpeak ; for; although the popular name of the 
building at Iflakhr, or Perfepolis, be no certain 
proof that it was raifed in the time of Jemsiii d, 
yet fuch a faCt might eafily have been preferved 
by tradition, and we (hall foon have abundant 
evidence, that the temple was pofteriour to the 
reign of the Hindu monarchs : the cypreffes in- 
deed, which are reprefented with the figures in 
procelfion, migjit induce a reader of the Shdb^ 
ndmah to believe, that the Iculptures related to 
the new faith introduced by Zera'tusht ; but, 
4is .n .cypirers U a beautiful ornament, and as 



many' -of the figures -appear inconfiftent with 
the reformed adoration of fire, we muft have 
recourfe to flronger proofs, that the Takhti 
Jemshi'd was erefted after Cayu'mers. The 
building has lately been viiited, and the cha- 
radlers on it examined, by Mr. Francklin ; 
from whom we learn, that Niebuhr has de- 
lineated them with great accuracy : but without 
fuch teftimony I flrould have fufpe£lt'd the cor- 
redfnefs of the delineation ; bccaufe the Dani/h 
traveller has exhibited two inferiptions in mo- 
dern Perjian^ and one of them from the fame 
place, which -cannot have been exaiSly tran^, 
feribed: they are very elegant verfes of Ni- 
zami' and Sadi' on the in/lability of human 
greatnejsi but fo ill engraved or fo ill copied, 
that, if Thad not had them nearly by heart, I 
(hould not have been able to ^'ead them ; and 
M. Rousseau of Isfahan^ who tranflated them 
with Ih-ameful inaccuracy, muft have been de- 
ceived by the badnefs of the copy ; or he never 
would have created a new king Wakam, by 
forming one word of Jem and the particle pre- 
fixed to it. Afliiming, however, that we may 
rcafon as conclufively on the characters publiihed 
by Niebuhe, as we might on the monuments 
themlelves, -were they now before us, we may 
begin with oliferving, as CHARDtN had pbferved 
on the very fpot, that they bear no refetnblance 


ifrhatever to the letters ufed by the Gahrs In 
their copies of the VendidM: this I once urged, 
in an amicable debate with BAHMAN,a8 a proof, 
that the Zend letters Were a modern invention j 
but he feemed to hear me without furprize, and 
infilled, that the letters, to which I alluded, and 
which he had often feen> were monumental 
charafters never ufed in books, and intended 
either to conceal fome religious myfteries from 
the vulgar, or to difplay the art of the fculptor, 
like the embellilhed Cujick and Nagar't on fe- 
veral Arabian and India monuments. He won- 
-,dered, that any man could ferioufly doubt the 
antiquity of the Pahlavi letters ; and in truth 
the infeription behind the horfe of Rujiam, 
which Niebuhr has alfo given us, is apparently 
Pahlavi., and might with fome pains be decy- 
phered : that charadler was extremely rude, and 
feems to have been written, like the Homan and 
the Arabick, in a variety of hands j for I re- 
member to have examined a rare colledlion of 
old Verfian coins in the Mufeum of the great 
Anatomift, William Hunter, and, though I 
believed the legends to be Pahlavi, and had no 
doubt, that they were coins of Parthian kings, 
yet I could qot read the inferiptions without 
walling more time, than I liad then at command, 
in^ comparing the letters and afeertaining the 
proportions, in which they feverally occurred. 



The grofs Pablavi was improved by Zeha- 
TUSHT or his difciples into an elegant and per- 
fpicuous charader, in which the Zenddvejid was 
copied ; and both were written from the right 
hand to the left like other Chaldaick alphabets ; 
for they are manifeftly both of Chaldean origin; 
but the Zend has the fingular advantage of ex- 
prefling all the long and fhort vowels, by diC- 
tind marks, in the body of each word, and all 
the words are diftinguifhed by full points be- 
tween them ; fo that, if modem Ferjiim were 
unmixed with Arabick, it might be written, in 
Zend with the greateft convenience, as any ono 
may perceive by copying in that character a few 
pages of the Sbdhnmnah. As to the unknown 
inferiptions in the palace of Jemshi'd, it may 
reafonably be doubted, whether they contain a 
fyftem of letters, which any natiort ever adopted : 
in Jive of them the letters, which are feparated 
by points, may be reduced to forty, at leaft I 
can diftinguifh no more eflentially different; and 
they all feem to be regular variations and com- 
pofitions of a ftraight line and an angular figure 
like the head of a javelin, or a leaf (to ufe the 
language of botanifts) hearted and lanced. Many 
of the Runick letters appear to have been formed 
of fimilar elements j and it has been oblerved, 
that the writing at FerfepoUs bears a flrong re- 
femblance to that, which the Irijh call Ogham : 

VOL. I. L 



the word Jgajn in Sanfcrit means mvfltrious 
knowledge i but I dare not affirm, that the two 
words had a common origin, and only mean to 
fuggeft, that, if the characters in queftion be 
really alphabetical, they were probably fecret 
and faccrdotal, or a mere cypher, perhaps, of 
which the priefts only had the key. They 
might, I imagine, be decyphered, if the language 
were certainly known ; but, in all the other in- 
feriptions of the fame fort, the characters arc too 
complex, and the variations of them too nu- 
merous, to admit an opinion, that they could be 
-fymbols of articulate founds ; for even the JVif- 
gari fyllem, which has more diftinCt letters than 
any known alphabet, conlifts only of forty-nine 
fimple characters, two of which arc mere fub- 
ftitutions, and four of little ufc in Sanferit or in 
any other language ; while the more complicated 
figures, exhibited by Niebuhr, muft be as nu- 
merous at leafl as the Cbinefe. keys, which are 
the figns of ideas only, and fomc of which re- 
femblc the old Perfian letters at IJlakhr: the 
Danijl} traveller was convinced from'" his own 
obfervation, that they were written from the 
left hand, like all the characters ufed by Hifidu 
nations ; but I muft leave this dark fubjeCt, 
which I cannot illuminate, with a remark for- 
merly made by myfelf, that the fquare Cbaldaick 
letters, a few of which are found on the Perjian 



ruins, appear to have been originally the fame 
tv'ith the Devandgar'i^ before the latter were en- 
clofed, as we now fee them^ in angular frames. 

II. The primeval religion of Iran^ if we rely 
on the authorities adduced by Mohsani Fa'ni', 
was that, which Newton calls the oldeft (and 
it may juflly be called the nobleft) of all reli- 
gions ; “ a firm belief, that One Supreme God 
“ made the world by his power, and continually 
“ governed it by his providence ; a pious fear, 
“ love, and adoration of Him ; a due reverence 
for parents and aged perfons ; a fraternal ajfec- 
“ tion for the whole human fpecies, and a 
“ paflionate tendernefs even for the brute crea- 
“ tion.” A fyftem of devotion fo pure and fub- 
lime could hardly among mortals be of long 
duration ; and we learn from the Dabijlm, that 
the popular worfhip of the IrdrUans under Hu - 
SHANG was purely Sabian; a word, of which I 
cannot olFer any certain etymology, but which 
has been deduced by grammarians from Sadc), a 
ho/?, and, particularly the hq/t of heaven, or the 
celejlial bodies, in the adoration of which the 
Sabian ritual is believed to have confifted : there 
is a defeription, in the learned work juft men- 
tioned, of the feveral Perfan temples dedicated 
to the Sun and Planets, of the images adored In 
them, and of the magnificent proceflions to them 

on preferibed feftivals, one of which is probably 

L 2 


reprefented by fculpture in the ruined city of 
Jemshi’d ; but the planetary worfliip in Perjia 
feems only a part of a far more complicated re- 
ligion, which we now find in thefe Indian pro- 
vinces ; for Mohs AN affures us, that, in the opi- 
nion of the bell informed Perfians, who profelTcd 
the faith of Hu'shang, diftinguilhed from that 
of Zera'tusht, the firft monarch of Iran and 
of the whole earth was Mah a'ba'd, a word ap- 
parently Sanfcrit, who divided the people into 
four orders, the religious^ the military, the com- 
mereial, and the Jervile, to which he afligned 
*ii£mcs unqueftionably the fame in their origin 
with thofe now applied to the four primary clafles 
of the Hindus. They added, that He received 
from the creator, and promulgated among men, 
a /acred book in a heavenly language, to whicli 
the Mujelman alithor gives the .drabick title of 
dejdtir, or regulations, but the original name of 
which he has not mentioned j and ih^X. fourteen 
Maha'ba'ds had appeared or would appear in 
human fhapes for the government of, this world : 
now when we know, that the Hindus believe in 
fourteen Menu’s, or celeftial perfonages with 
fimilar functions, the frji of whom left a book 
of regulations^ or divine ordinances, which they 
hold equal to the Veda, and the language of 
which they believe to be that of the Gods, we 
can hardly doubt, that the firft corruption of the 



pureft and oldeft religion was the fyftem of /«- 
dim Theology, invented by the Brahmans and 
prevalent in thefe territories, where the book of 
Maha BAD or Menu is at this hour the ftand- 
ard of all religious and moral duties. The ac- 
ceffion of Cayu MiiRS to the throne of Perfia^ 
in the eighth or ninth century before Christ, 
feems to have been accompanied by a conlider- 
able revolution both in government and religion : 
he was mod: probably of a different race from 
the Mahabddians, who preceded him, and began 
perhaps the new fyftem of national faith, which 
Hu'shang, whofe name it bears, completed ; 
but the reformation was partial ; for, while they 
rejedted the complex polytheifm of their pre- 
deceflbrs, they retained the laws of Maha ba'd, 
with a fuperftitious veneration for the fun, the 
planets, and fire ; thus refenabling the Hindu 
fedts, called Saura’s and Sdgjiica's, the fecond 
of which is very numerous at Banares, where 
many agnihotra's are continually blazing, and 
where the Sdgnica\s, when they enter on their 
facerdotal office, kindle, with two pieces of the 
hard wood Serni, a fire which they keep lighted 
tlirough their lives for their nuptial ceremony, 
the performance of folemn facri|ices, the obfe- 
quies of departed anceftors, and their own funeral 
pile. This remarkable rite was continued by 
Zera'tusht ; who reformed the old religion by 


the addition of genii, or angels, prefiding ovei? 
months and days, of new ceremonies in the ve- 
neration fhown to fire, of a new work, which he 
pretended to have received from heaven, and, 
above all, by eftablifhing the adual adoration of 
One Supreme Being : he was born, according to 
Mohsan, in the difirid of Rai ; and it was He, 
not, as Ammianus aflfcrts, his.protedor Gush- 
TASB, who travelled into India, that he might 
receive information from the Brahmans in theo- 
logy and ethicks. It is barely poflible, that Py- 
THA.GORAS knew him in the capital of Irah\ 
the Grecian fage muft then have been far 
advanced in years, and we have no certain evi- 
dence of an intercourfe between the two phi- 
lofophers. The reformed religion of Perjia 
continued in force, till that country was fubdued 
by the MufelniAns\ and, without ftudying the 
Zend, we have ample information concerning it 
in the modern Perjian writings of feveral, who 
profefled it. Bauman always named Zera- 
TUSliT, with reverence ; but he was in truth a 
pure Theift, and ftrongly difclaimed any adora- 
tion of the Jire or other elements : he denied, 
that the dodrine of two coeval principles, fu- 
premely good -and fupremely bad, formed any 
part of his faith ; and he often repeated with 
emphafis the verfes of Firdausi on the prof- 
tration of Cyrus and his paternal grandfather 



before the blazing altar : “ Think not, that they 
“ were adorers of fire ; for that element was 
“ only an exalted object, on the luftre of which 
“ they fixed their eyes ; they humbled them- 
“ felves a whole week before God ; and, if thy 
“ underftanding be ever fo little exerted, thou 
“ mull acknowledge thy dependence on the 
“ being fupremely pure.” In a ftory of Sadi, 
near the clofe of his beautiful Bujldn, concern- 
ing the idol of So'mana't’h, or Mah a'de'va, 
he confounds the religion of the Hindus with 
that of the Gains, calling the Brahmans not only 
Moghs, (which might be juftified by a palTage in 
the Mrfnavi ) but even readers of the Zend and 
Pdzend: now, whether this confulion proceeded 
from real or pretended ignorance, I cannot de- 
cide, but am as firmly convinced, that the doc- 
trines of the Ze?id were diftinft froift thofe of 
the VMa, as I am that the religion of the Brdh- 
7nans, with whom we converfe every day, pre- 
vailed in Ferfia before the acceffion of Cayu- 
MERs, whom the PdrsVs, from refpe£t to his 
memory, confider as the firft of men, although 
they believe in an univerfal deluge before his 

With the religion of the old. Perfians their 
pbilofophy (or as mueh as we know of it) was 
intimately connected; for they were afliduous 
obfervers of the luminaries, which they adored. 



and eftablifhed, according to Mohs AN, who 
confirms in fome degree the fragments of Be- 
Rosus, a number of artificial cycles with diftindt 
names, which feem to indicate a knowledge of 
the period, in which the equinoxes appear to re- 
volve : they are faid alfo to have known the 
moft wonderful powers of nature, and thence to 
have acquired the fame of magicians and en- 
chanters ; but I will only detain you with a few 
remarks on that metaphyfical theology, which 
has been profeffed immemorially by a numerous 
fedt of Verjians and Hindus^ was carried in part 
^to Greece, and prevails even now among the 
learned Mufelmans, who fometimes avow it with- 
out referve. The modern philofophers of this 
perfuafion are called Suji*s, either from the 
Greek word for a fage, or from the woollen 
mantle, which they ufed to wear in fome pro- 
vinces of Perjia : their fundamental tenets are, 
that nothing exifts abfolutely but God: that the 
human foul is an emanation from his eifence, 
and, though divided for a time from its heavenly 
fource, will be finally re-united with it ; that the 
higheft poffible happinefs will arife from its re- 
union, and that the chief good of mankind, in 
this* confifts in as perfedi an 
union with the Eternal Spirit as the incumbrances 
of a mortal frame will allow ; that, for this pur- 
pofe^ they ihould break all connexion (or tadlluk. 



as they call it), with extrinfick objedls, and pafs 
through life without attachments, as a fwimmer 
in the ocean ftrikes freely without the impe- 
diment of clothes ; that they fliould be ftraight 
and free as the cyprefs, whofe fruit is hardly 
perceptible, and not fink under a load, like fimit- 
trees attached to a trellis j that, if mere earthly 
charms have power to influence the foul, the 
idea of celeftial beauty muft overwhelm it in 
extatick delight ; that, for want of apt words to 
exprefs the divine perfections and the ardour of 
devotion, we muft borrow fuch exprefliops as 
approach the neareft to our ideas, and fpeak of 
Beauty and Love in a tranfcendent and myftical 
fenfe ; that, like a reed torn from its native bank, 
like xvax feparated from its delicious honey, the 
foul of man bewails its difunion with melancholy 
mujick, and ftieds burning tear#, like the lighted 
taper, waiting paffionately for the moment of its 
extinction, as a difengagemcnt from earthly 
trammels, and the means of returning to its Only 
Beloved. Such in part (for I omit the mi- 
nuter and more fubtil metaphyfieks of the Si/Ji’s, 
which are mentioned in the Dabijldn) is the 
wild and enthufiaftick religion of the modem 
Terfian poets, efpecially of the*fwreet Ha fiz 
and the great Maulav't: fuch is the fyftem of 
the Veddnti philofophers and beft lyrick poets of 
India ; and, as it was a fyftem of the higheft an^ 



tiquity in both nations, it may be added to the 
many other proofs of an immemorial affinity 
between them. 

III. On the ancl6nt monmnenls of Perfian 
fculpture and architcdlure we have already made 
fucli obferyations, as were fufficient for our pur- 
pofe ; nor will you be furprized at the diverfity 
between the figures at Elephanta^ which are ma- 
nifeftly Hindu, and thofe at Perfepolis, which 
are merely Sabian, if you concur with me in 
believing, that the Takhli yemjhid was erected 
after the time of Cayu'mers, when the Brdb-, 
Ijians had migrated from Iran, and when their 
intricate mythology had been fuperfeded by the 
fimpler adoration of the planets and of fire. 

IV. As to the /deuces or arts of the old Per-r 
/ans, I have little to fay ; and no complete evi- 
dence of them fe<ems to exift. Mohsan fpeaks 
more than once of ancient verfes in the Pahlav'i 
language ; and Bauman aflured me, that fome 
fcanty remains of them had been preferved : 
their mufick and painting, which Niza'mi ce- 
lebrated, have irrecoverably perifhed ; and in re- 
gard to Ma'ni', the painter and impoftor, whofe 
book of drawings called Artang, which he prev 
tended to be divine, is fuppofed to have been 
deftroyed by the Chinefe, in whofe dominions 
he had fought refuge, the whole tale is too mo- 
dern to throw any light on the queftions before 



us concerning the origin of nations and the in- 
habitants of the primitive world. 

Thus has it been proved by clear evidence and 
plain reafoning, that a powerful monarchy was 
eftabliflied in Iran long before the JJj'yrian, or 
Pijhdddi^ government ; that it was in truth a 
Hindu monarchy, though, if any chufe to call it 
Cujian^ Cafdean, or Scythian^ we fliall not enter 
into a debate on mere namfts ; that it fubfifted 
many centuries, and that its hiftory has been in- 
grafted on that of the Hindus, who founded the 
monarchies of Hyodbyd and Indraprejlha ; that 
the language of the lirft Perfum empire was the 
mother of the Sanferit, and confequcnlly of the 
Zend, and Parfi,.3L9. well as of Greek, Latin, and 
Goihick ; that the language of the JJfyrians was 
the parent of Chaldaick and Pahlav'i, and that 
the primary Tartarian language alfo "had been 
current in the fame empire; although, as the 
Tartars had no books or even letters, we cannot 
with certainty trace their unpolilhed and variable 
idioms. We difeover, thercfoi'e, in Perjia, at 
the earliell dawn of hidory, the three diftind: 
races of men, whom we deferibed on former oc- 
cafions as pofleffors of India, Arabia, Tartary ; 
and, whether they were colleded in Iran from 
diftant regions, or diverged .from it, as from a 
common centre, we fhall eafily determine by the 
following confiderations. Let us obferve in the 


firft place the central pofition of Iran^ which is 
bounded by Arabia^ by Tartarjy and by India ; 
whilft Arabia lies contiguous to Iran only, but 
is remote from Tartary, and divided even from 
the fkirts of India by a confiderable gulf; no 
country, therefore, but Ferjia feems likely to 
have fent forth its colonies to all the kingdoms 
of AJia: the Brdbjnatjs could never have mi- 
grated from India to Iran, becaufe they are ex- 
prefsly forbidden by their oldeft exifting laws tor 
leave the region, which they inhabit at this day ; 
the Arabs have not even a tradition of an emi- 
gration into Perjia before Mohammed, nor had 
they indeed any inducement to quit their beau- 
tiful and extenfiive domains; and, as to the Tar- 
tars, we have no trace in hiftory of their depar- 
ture from their plains and forefts, till the invafion 
of the Medes, \X’ho, according to etymologifts, 
were the fons of Madai, and even they were 
conduced by princes of an Ajfyrian family. 
The three races, therefc^e, whom we have already 
mentioned, (and more than three we have not 
yet found) migrated from Iran, as from their 
common country ; and thus the Saxon chronicle, 
I prefume from good authority, brings the firfl: 
inhabitants of- Britain from Armenia ; while a 
late very learned writer concludes, after all his 
laborious refearches, that the Goths or Scythians 
came from PerJia ; and another contends with 



great force, that both the Irifi and old Britons 
proceeded feverally from the borders of the Caf- 
pian ; a coincidence of conclufions from different 
media by perfons wholly linconneded, which 
could fcarce have happened, if they w(?re not 
grounded on folid principles. We may there- 
fore hold this propolition firmly eflabliflicd, that 
Iran, or Perjia in its largeft fenfe, was the true 
centre of population, of knowledge, of languages, 
and of arts ; which, inftead of travelling well- 
ward only, as it has been fancifully luppofed, or 
eaflward, as might with equal reafon have been 
aflerted, were expanded in all diredions to all 
the regions of the world, in which the Hindu 
race had fettled under various denominations : 
but, whether yffia has not produced other races 
of men, diftind from the Hindus^ the Arabfi, or 
the Tartars, or wdiether any apparent divcrlity 
may not liave fprung from an intermixture of 
thofe three in different proportions, muft be the 
Uibjed 'of a future inquiry. There is another 
queftion of more immediate importance, which 
you, gentlemen, only can decide : namely, “ by 
“ what means we can preferve our Society fi'om 
“ dying gradually away, as it has advanced gra- 
“ dually to its prefent (fhall I fay. flourifhing or 
“ languifhing ?) ftate.'’ It has fubliflcd live years 
without anyexpenfetothe members of it, until the 
firfj: volume of our Tranfadious was publifhed; 


and the price of that large volume, if we com* 
pare the different values of money in Bengal 
and in England, is not more than equal to the 
annual contribution towards the charges of the 
Royal Society by each of its fellows, who may 
not have chofen to compound for it on his ad- 
miflion : this I mention, not from an idea that 
any of us could objedl to the purchafe of one 
copy at leaft, but from a wifh to inculcate the 
neccffity of oUr common exertions in promoting 
the fale of the work both here and in London, 
In vain (hall we meet, as a literary body, if our 
meetings lhall ceafe to be fupplied with original 
differtations and memorials ; and in vain fhall 
we colledl the moft interefting papers, if we 
cannot publifh them occfefionally without ex- 
pofing the Superintendents of the Company’s 
prefs, who undesitake to print them at their own 
hazard, to the danger of a confiderable lofs : by 
united efforts the French have compiled their 
ftupendous repofitories of univerfal knowledge ; 
and by united efforts only can we hope to rival 
them, or to diffufc over our own country and 
the reft of Europe the lights attainable by our 
AJiatkk Refearcbes. 






Although we are at this moment confidcr- 
ably nearer to the frontier of China than to the 
fartheft limit of the Britijh dominions in LC«- 
diijldn, yet the firft ftep, that we fhall take in 
the philofophical journey, which ! propofe for 
your entertainment at the prefent meeting, will 
carry us to the utmoft verge of the habitable 
globe known to the beft geographers of old 
Greece and Egypt beyond the boundary of 
whofe knowledge we fhall difcern from the 
heights of the northern mountains an empire 
nearly equal in furface to a fquare of fifteen de- 
grees; an empire, of which I do not mean to 
affign the precife limits, but .which we may con- 
fider, for the purpofe of this diflertation, as em- 
braced on two fides by Tariary and India, w'hile 


the ocean feparates its other fides from various 
j4jiatick ifles of great importance in the com- 
mercial fyftem of Europe : annexed to that im- 
menfe tra£t of land is the peninfula of Corea, 
■which a vaft oval bafon divides from Nifon or 
Japan, a celebrated and imperial ifland, bearing 
in arts and in arms, in advantage of fituation 
but not in felicity of government, a pre-emi- 
nence among eaftern kingdoms analogous to 
that of Britain among the nations of the weft. 
So many climates are included in fo prodigious 
an area, that, while the principal emporium of 
China lies nearly under the tropick, its metro- 
polis enjoys the temperature of Samarkand ; 
fuch too is the diverfity of foil in its fifteen pro- 
vinces, that, while fome of them are exquifitely 
fertile, richly cultivated, and extremely populous, 
others are barremand rocky, dry and unfruitful, 
with plains as wild or mountains as rugged as 
any in Scythia, and thofe either wholly deferted, 
or peopled by favage hordes, who, if they be not 
ftill independent, have been very lately fubdued 
by the perfidy, rather than the valour, of a mo- 
narch, who has perpetuated his own breach of 
faith in a Cbineje poem, of which I have feen a 

The .word China, concerning which I fiiall 
offer forae new remarks, is well known to the 
people, whom we call the Chineje\ but they 



never apply it (I fpeak of the learned among 
them) to themfelves or to their country : them- 
felves, according to Father Visdelou, they de- 
fcribe as the people of Han, or of feme other 
illuftrious family, by the memory of whofe ac- 
tions they flatter their national pride i and their 
country they call Chum-cue, or the Central King- 
dom, reprefenting it in their fymbolical charac- 
ters by a parallelogram exadtly biflTedied : at 
other times they diftinguifh it by the words 
Tien-hia, or JVhat is under Heaven, meaning all 
that is valuable on Earth. Since they never name 
themfelves with moderation, they would have 
no right to complain, if they knew, that Euro- 
pean authors have ever fpoken of them in the 
extremes of applaufe or of cenfure : by fome 
they have been extolled as the oldeft and the 
wifeft, as the moft learned and moft ingenious, 
of nations j whilft others have derided their 
pretenfions to antiquity, condemned their govern- 
ment as abominable, and arraigned their man- 
ners as inhuman, without allowing them an 
element of fcience, or a Angle art, for which 
they have not been indebted to fome more an- 
cient and more civilized race of men. The truth 
perhaps lies, where we ufually flntl it, between 
the extremes ; but it is not my defign to accufe 
or to defend the Chinefe, to deprefs or to ag- 
grandize them : I ihall confine myfelf to the dif- 

VOL. I. M 


Guffion of a queftion connedted with my former 
difcourfes, and far lefs eaCy to be folved than any 
hitherto ftarted. “ Whence came the fmgular 
“ people, who long had governed China, before 
“ they were conquered by the Tartars On 
this problem, the folution of which has no con- 
cern, indeed, with our political or commercial 
interefts, but a very material connedlion, if I 
miftake not, with interefts of a higher nature, 
four opinions have been advanced, and all rather 
peremptorily aflerted, than fupported by argu- 
ment and evidence. By a few writers it has 
been urged, that the Chinefe are an original race, 
who have dwelled for ages, if not from eternity, 
in the land, which they now poflefs ; by others, 
and chiefly by the miffionaries, it is infifted, that 
they fprang from the fame ftock with the He- 
brews and ylrahs ; a third aflertion is that of the 
Jurats themfelvcs and ofM. Pauw, who hold it 
indubitable, that they were originally Tartars 
defeending in wild clans from the fteeps of Imaus ; 
and a fourth, at leaft as dogmatically pronounced 
as any of the preceding, is that of the Brahmens^ 
who decide, without allowing any appeal from 
their decilion, that the Chinas (for fo they are 
named in Sanjerit ) were Hindus of the CJhatriya, 
or military, clafs, who, abandoning the privileges 
of their tribe, rambled in different bodies to the 
north-eaft of Bengal j and, forgetting by degrees 



the rites and religion of their anceflors, eftablifli- 
ed feparate principalities, which were afterwards 
united in the plains and valleys, whicJi arc now 
pofTefled by them. If any one of the three lad 
opinions be juft, the lirft of them muft ncccl- 
farily be reliilquiftied ; but of thofc three, tlic 
firft cannot poftibly be fuflaincd ; becaufo It 
refts on no firmer fupport than a foolifli remark j 
whether true or falfe, that Sem in CbineJ'e means 
life and procreation and becaufe a tea- pi ant is 
not more different from a palm, than a Cbincfe 
from an ^rab : they are men, indeed, as the. tea 
and the palm are vegetables ; but human faga- 
city could not, I believe, difeover any other trace 
of fefcmblance between them. One of the Arabs^ 
indeed, an account of whofe voyage to India and 
China hasbecn tranflated by Re n au dot, thought 
the Chitieje not only handfomef (according to 
his ideas of beauty) than the Hindus, but even 
more like his own countrymen in features, ha- 
biliments, carriages, manners and ceremonies ; 
and jthis may be true, without proving an aiSlual 
refemblancc between the Chinefc and Arabs, ex- 
cept in drefs and complexion. The next opinion 
. is" more connected with that of the Brahmens, 
than M. Pauw, probably, imagined; for though 
he tells us exprefsly, tlhat by Beythians he meant 
the Turks or Tartars', yet the dragon on the 
ftandard, and foijie other peculiarities, frora 


which he would infer a clear affinity between 
the old Tartars and the Chinefe, belonged indu- 
bitably to thofc Scythians, who are known to 
have been Goths ; and the Goths had manifeftly 
a common lineage with the Hindus, if his own 
argument, in the preface to his Refearches, on 
the fimilarity of language, be, as all men agree 
that it is, irrefragable. That the Chinefe were 
anciently of a Tartarian flock, is a propofition, 
which I cannot otherwife difprove for the pre- 
fent, than by infilling on the total diffimilarity 
of the two races in manners and arts, particularly 
in the fine arts of imagination, which the Tar^ 
tars, by their own account, never cultivated j but, 
if we fhow ftrong grounds for believing, that 
the firft Chinefe were actually of an Indian race, 
it will follow that M. Pauw and the Arabs are 
miflaken : it is ‘to the difcuffion of this new and, 
in my opinion, very interefling point, that I 
lhall confine the remainder of my difcourfe. 

In the Sojifcrit Inflitutes of Civil and Reli- 
gious Duties, revealed, as the Hindus believe, by 
Menu, the fon of Brahma', we find the fol- 
lowing curious pafTage : “ Many families of the 
“ military clafs, having gradually abandoned the 
ordinances of the Veda^ and the company of 
“ Brahmens, lived in a flate of degradation j as 
“ the people of Pundraca and Odra, thofe of 
“ Dravira and Cafoboja, the Tavanas and Sacas, 



“ the Parados and Pabltwas^ the Chinas and 
“ feme other nations.” A full comment on 
this text would here be fuperfluous ; but, fince 
the teftimony of the Indian author, who, though 
certainly not a divine perfonage, was as certainly 
a very ancient lawyer, moralift, and hiftorian, 
is diredl and pofitive, difmterefted and unfuf- 
pedled, it would, I think, decide the queftion 
before us, if we could be fure, that the word 
China fignified a Cbinefe^ as all the Pandits^ 
whom I have feparately confulted, aflert with 
one voice : they aflure me, that the Chinas of 
Menu fettled in a fine country to the north-eaft 
of Gaur^ and to the eall of Cdmariip and Nepal ; 
that they have long been, and ftill are, famed as 
ingenious artificers ; and that they had them- 
felves feen old Cbinefe idols, which bore a ma- 
nifeft relation to the primitive ftligiori of India 
before Buddha’s appearance in it. A well- 
informed Pandit ftiowed me a Sanjirit book in 
Cajhmirian letters, which, he faid, was revealed 
by Siva himfelf, and entitled SaStiJangama: he 
read to me a whole chapter of it on the hetero»- 
dox opinions of the Chinas^ who were divided, 
fays the author, into near two hundred clans. 
I then laid before him a map of JJia ; and, 
when I pointed to Q^mir^ his own country, he 
inftantly placed his finger on the north- weftern 
provinces of China, where the Chinas, he faid. 


firft eftablifhed tliemfelves ; but he added, that 
Mahdchhni^ which w^as alfo mentioned in his 
book, extended to the eaftern and fouthern 
oceans. I believe, neverthclefs, that the Chinefe 
empire, as we now call it, was not formed vidien 
the laws of Menu were colledled ; and for this 
belief, fo repugnant to the general opinion, I 
am bound to offer my reafons. If the outline 
of hiftory and chronology for the laft two thou- 
fand years be corre<illy traced, (and we muft be 
hardy fcepticks to doubt it) the poems of Ca'- 
■lida's were compofed before the beginning of 
our era : now it is clear, from internal and ex- 
ternal evidence, that the Rdmdyan and Mahdh- 
hdrat were conflderably older than the produc- 
tions of that poet ; and it appears from the 
flyle and metre of the Dherma Sdjlra revealed 
by Menu, that it was reduced to writing long 
before the age ofVA LMic or Vya'sa, the fecond 
of whom names it with applaufe : we fhall not, 
therefore, be thought extravagant, if we place 
the compiler of thofe laws between a thoufand 
and fifteen hundred years before Christ ; eC- 
pecially as Buddha, whofe age is pretty well 
afeertained, is not mentioned in them ; but, in 
the twelfth century before our era, the Chinefe 
empire was at leaft in its cradle. This fadl it is 
jieceffary to prove ; and my firft witnefs is Con-. 
yicius himfclf. 1 know to what keen fatire J 



lhall expofe myfelf by citing that phllofopher, 
after the bitter farcafms of M. Pauw againft 
him and againft the tranflators of his mutilated, 
but valuable, works : yet I quote without fcruple 
the book entitled Lun Yu, of which I poflefs the 
original with a verbal tranflation, and which I 
know to be fufficiently authentick for my prefent 
purpofe : in the fecond part of it Con-fu-tsu 
declares, that “ Although he, like other men, 
“ could relate, as mere leflbns of morality, the 
“ hiftories of the lirft and fecond imperial houfes, 
“ yet, for want of evidence, he could givq no 
“ certain account of them.” Now, if the Chi- 
ne fe themfelves do not even pretend, that any 
hiftorical monuments exifted, in the age of 
Confucius, preceding the rife of their third 
dynafty about eleven hundred years before the 
Chrijlian epoch, we may juftly cbncFude, that 


the reign of Vu'vam was in the infancy of their 
empire, which hardly grew to maturity till fome 
ages after that prince j and it has been afterted 
by very learned Europeans, that even of the third 
dynafty, which he has the fame of having raifed, 
no unfufped:cd memorial can now be produced. 
It was not till the eighth century before the birth 
of our Saviour, that a fmall kingdom was erefted 
in the province of SSen-si, the capital of which 
flood nearly in the thirty -fifth degree of northern 
latitude, and about five degrees to the weft of 


Si-gan: both the country and its metropolis 
were called CA/aj and the dominion of its princes 
was gradually extended to the eaft and weft. A 
king of Chirif who miakes a figi^re in the Sbdb- 
ndmah among the allies of Afra'siya'b, was, I 
prefume, a fovereign of the country juft menr 
tioned ; and the river of Chin, which the poet 
frequently names as the limit of his eaftern geo- 
graphy, feems to have been the Tdlow Rivery 
which the Cbineje introduce at the beginning of 
their fabulous annals: I ftiould be tempted to 
expatiate on fo curious a fubjeft ; but the pre- 
fent occafion allows nothing fuperfluous, and 
permits me only to add, f.hat Mangukhdn died, 
in the middle of the thirteenth century, before 
the city of Chin, which was afterwards taken by 
Kublai, and that the poets of Iran perpetually 
allude to the diftri£ts around it which they ce- 
lebrate, with Cbegil and Kboten, for a number 
of mulk-animals roving on their hills. The 
territory of Chin, fo called by the old HinduSy 
by the Perjians, and by the Cbineje (while ^he 
Greeks and Arabs were obliged by their defeftive 
articulation to mifeal it Sin) gave its name to a 
race of emperors, whofe tyranny made their 
memory fo unpopular, that the modern inha- 
|)it^ts of China hpld the'word in abhorrence, 
and fpeak of themfelves as the people of a milder 
and more virtuous dynafty; but it is highly 



probable that the whole nation defcended from 
the Chinas of Menu, and, mixing with the Tar-~ 
tars^ by whom the plains of Honan and the 
more fouthern provinces were thinly inhabited, 
formed by degrees the race of men, whom we 
now fee in poffeffion of the nobleft empire in 

In fupport of an opinion, which I offer as the 
refult of long and anxious inquiries, I fhould re- 
gularly proceed to examine the language and let- 
ters, religion and philofophy, of the prefent Cbi- 
nefe^ and fubjoin fome remarks on their ancient 
monuments, on their fciences, and on their arts 
both liberal and mechanical: but their fpoken 
language^ not having been preferved by the ufual 
fymbols of articulate founds, muft have been for 
many ages in a continual flux ; their letters^ if 
we may fo cdll them, are merelj^ the fymbols of 
ideas ; their popular religion was imported from 
India in an age comparatively modern ; and their 
philofophy feems yet in fo rude a ftate, as hardly 
to deferve the appellation ; they have no ancient 
monuments, from which their origin can be traced 
even by plaufible conjecture j their fciences are 
. v^holly exotick j and their mechanical arts have 
nothing in them charaCteriftick of a particular 
family; nothing, which any fet of men, in a 
country fo highly favoured by nature, might not 
have difcovered and improved. They have in- 


deed, both national mulick and national poetry, 
and both of them beautifully pathetick ; but of 
painting, fculpture, or architedlure, as arts of 
imagination, they fe^m (like other Afiaticks ) to 
have no idea. Inftead, therefore, of enlarging 
feparately on each of thofe heads, I ihall briefly 
inquire, how far the literature and religious prac- 
tices of China confirm or oppofe the propofition, 
which 1 have advanced. 

The declared and fixed opinion of M. de 
Guignes, on the fubje<ft before us, is nearly 
connected with that of the Brahmens : he main- 
tains, that the Chinefe were emigrants from 
Egypt i and the Egyptians^ or Ethiopians, (for 
they were clearly the fame people) had in- 
dubitably a common origin with the old natives 
of India, as the affinity of their languages, and 
of their iriftitutions, both religious and political, 
fully evinces ; but that China was peopled a few 
centuries before our era by a colony from the 
banks of the Nile, though neither Berjians nor 
Arabs, Tartars nor Hindus, ever heard of fuch 
an emigration, is a paradox, which the bare au- 
thority even of fo learned a man cannot fuppon ; 
and, fince reafon grounded on fadls can alone 
decide fuch a queftion, we have a right to de- 
mand clearer evidence and* ftronger arguments, 
than any that he has adduced. The hierogly- 
phicks of Egypt bear, indeed, a ftrong refera- 



■blance to the mythological fculptures and paint- 
ings of India, but feem wholly diffimilar to the 
fymbolical fyftem of the Cbinefe, which might 
eafily have been invented (as they affert) by an 
individual, and might very naturally have been 
contrived by the firft Chinas, or out-caft Hindus, 
who either never knew, or had forgotten, the 
alphabetical charadiers of their wifer anceftors. 
As to the table and bulls of Isis, they feem to 
be given up as modern forgeries; but, if they 
were indifputably genuine, they would be nothing 
to the purpofe ; for the letters on the bull ap- 
pear to have been deligned as alphabetical ; and 
the fiibricator of them (if they really were fa- 
bricated in Europe) was uncommonly happy, 
fince two or three of them are exadly the fame 
with thofe on a metal pillar yet Handing in the 
north of India. In Egypt, if* we can rely on 
the teftimony of the Greeks, who fludied no 
language but their own, there were two fets of 
alphabetical charadlers ; the one popular, like 
the various letters ufed in our Indian provinces ; 
and the other facerdotal, like the Hevandgari, 
efpecially that form of it, which we fee in the 
V eda ; befides which they had two forts of facred 
Jculpture ; the one limple, like • the figures of 
Buddha and the three Ra'mas ; and the other, 
allegorical, like the images of Gane'sa, or Di- 
vine Wifdom, and Isa'ni', or Nature, with all 



their emblematical accompaniments; but the 
real character of the Chinefe appears wholly 
diftindt from any Egyptian writing, either mys- 
terious or popular ; and, as to the fancy of M. 
DE Guignrs, that the complicated fymbols of 
China were at firft no more than Phenician mo- 
nograms, let us hope, that he has abandoned fo 
wild a conceit, which he flatted probably with 
no other view than to difplay his ingenuity and 

We have ocular proof, that the few radical 
charadlers of the Cbine/e were originally (like 
our aflronomical and chymical fymbols) the pic- 
tures or outlines of vifible objedls, or figurative 
figns for fimple ideas, which they have multiplied 
by the moft ingenious combinations and the 
livelieft metaphors ; but, as the fyflem is peculiar, 
I believe, to themfelves and the Japanefe, ifwould 
be idly oftentatious to enlarge on it at prefent ; 
and, for the reafons already intimated, it neither 
corroborates nor weakens the opinion, which I 
endeavour to fupport. The fame may as truly be 
faid of their Jpoken language; for, independently 
of its conftant fludluation during a feries of ages, 
it has the peculiarity of excluding four or five 
founds, which - other nations articulate, and is 
clipped into monofyllables, even when the ideas 
exprelSed by them, and the written fymbols for 
thofe ideas, are very complex. This has arifen, 



I fuppofe, from the fingular habits of the people ; 
for, though their common tongue be fo mufically 
accented as to form a kind of recitative, yet it 
wants thofe grammatical accents, without which 
all human tongues would appear monofyllabick : 
thus Amita, with an accent on the firft fyllable, 
means, in the Sanfcrit language, immeajurable ; 
and the natives of Bengal pronounce it Omito ; 
but, when the religion of Buddha, the fon of 
Ma'ya', was carried hence into Cbina^ the 
people of that country, unable to pronounce the 
name of their new God, called him Fop, the 
fon of Mo-ye, and divided his epithet Amita 
into three fyllables O-mi-to, annexing to them 
certain ideas of their own, and exprefling them 
in writing by three diftind fymbols. VV’e may 
judge from this inftance, whether a comparifon 
of their fpoken tongue with the^dialedis of other 
nations can lead to any certain conclufion as to 
their origin; yet the inftance, which I have 
given, fupplies me with an argument from ana- 
logy, which I produce as conjedfural only, but 
which appears more and more phiufible, the 
oftener I conlider it. The Buddha of the 
Hindus is unqueftionably the Foe of China 'y but 
the great progenitor of the Cbinefe is alfo named 
by them Fo-hi, where the fecond monofyllable 
fignifies, it feems, a vidtim: now the anceftor 
of that military tribe, whom the Hindus call the 


Chandravanfa, or Children of the Moon, wats# 
according to their Pur anas or legends, Bud ha, 
or the genius of the planet Mercury, from whom, 
in the fifth degree, defcended a prince named 
Druhya ; whom his father Yaya'ti fent in 
exile to the eaft of Hindu/tdn, with this impre- 
cation, “ may thy progeny be ignorant of the 
“ Peda” The name of the banifhed prince 
could not be pronounced by the modern Chinefe ; 
and, though I dare not conjedture, that the laft 
fyllable of it has been changed into Yao, I may 
ncverthelefs obferve that Yao was the fifth in 
defeent from Bo-hi, or at leaft the fifth mortal 
in the firft imperial dynafty; that all Chinefe 
hiftory before him is confidered by Chinefe. them- 
felves as poetical or fabulous ; that his father 
Ti-co, like the Indian king Yaya'ti, was the 
firft prince whd married feveral women; and 
that Fo-hi, the head of their race, appeared, fay 
the Chinefe, in a province of the weft, and held 
his court in the territory of Chin, where the 
rovers, mentioned by the Indian legiflator, are 
fuppofed to have fettled. Another circumftance 
in the parallel is very remarkable ; according to 
father De Premare, in his trad on Chinefe 
mythology, the mother of Fo-hi was the Daugh- 
ter of Heaven, furnamed filoxver-loving, and, as 
the nymph was walking alone on the bank of a 
river with a fimilar name, ftie found herfelf on a 



fudden encircled by a rain-bow % foon after which 
fhe became pregnant, and at the end of twelve 
years was delivered of a fon radiant as herfclf, 
who, among other titles, had that of Su'i, or 
Star of the Tear. Now in the mythological 
fyftem of the Hindus, the nymph Ro'hini', who 
prefides over the fourth lunar manfion, was the 
favourite miftrefs of So ma, or the Moon, among 
whofe numerous epithets we find Cumudandyacciy 
or Delighting in a fpecies of zvater-jloxver, that 
bloflbms at night ; and their olFspiing was 
Bud HA, regent of a planet, and called alfo, from 
the names of his parents, Rauhine'ya or 
Saumya: it is true, that the learned miflionary 
explains the word Su'i by fupiter'y but an cxad: 
refemblance between two fuch fables could not 
have been expected j and it is fufficient for my 
purpofe, that they feem to have a family likenefs. 
The God Budha, fay the Indians, married Ida , 
whofe father was preferved in a miraculous ark 
from an univerfal deluge : now, although I can- 
not infift with confidence, that the rain-bow in 
the Chincfe fable alludes to the Mofaick narrative 
of the flood, nor build any folid argument on 
the divine perfonage Niu-va, of whofe cha- 
ra£ter, and even of whofe fex, the hiftorians of 
China fpeak very doubtfully, -I may, neverthelefs, 
alTure you, after full inquiry and confideration, 
that the Chinefe, like the Hindus^ believe this 


earth to have been wholly covered with water, 
which, in works of undHputed authenticity, they 
defcribe as flowing ahundantlyy then fubfiditgy 
and feparating the higher from the lower age of 
mankind 'y that the diviflon of timey ftom which 
their poetical hiftory begins, juft preceded the 
appearance of Fo-hi on the mountiuns of Chiny 
but that the great inundation in the reign of 
Yao was either confined to the lowlands of 
his kingdom, if the whole account of it be not a 
fable, or, if it contain any allufion to the flood 
of Noah, has been ignorantly mifplaced by the 
Chinefe annalifts. 

The importation of a new religion into China, 
in the firft century of our era, muft lead us to 
fuppofe, that the former fyftem, whatever it was, 
had been found inadequate to the purpofe of re- 
ftraining the greit body of the people from thofe 
off ences againft confcience and virtue, which the 
civil power could not reach j and it is hardly 
poflible that, without fuch reftridtions, any go- 
vernment could long have fubfifted with felicity; 
for no government can long fubfift without 
equal juftice, and juftice cannot be adminiftered 
without the fandtions of religion. Of the re- 
ligious opinions, entertained by Confucius and 
his followers, we may glean a general notion 
from the fragments of their works tranflated by 
Couplet; they profefled a firm belief in the 



fupfeme God, and gave a demonftration of his 
being and of his providence from the exquifite 
beauty and perfedlion of the celeftial bodies, and 
the wonderful order of nature in the whole fa- 
brick of the vifible world. From this belief 
they deduced a fyftem of Ethicks, which the 
philofopher fums up in a few words at the clofe 
of the Liin-yii : He,” fays Confucius, “ who 
“ fhall be fully perfuaded, that the Lord of 
“ Heaven governs the univerfe, who fhall in all 
“ things chufe moderation, who fhall perfectly 

know his own fpecies, and fo a£t among them, 
“ that his life and manners may conform to his 
“ knowledge of. God and man, may be truly 
“ faid to difcharge all the duties of a fage, and 
“ to be far exalted above the common herd of 
“ the human race.” But fuch a religion and 
fuch morality could never have been general ; 
and we find, that the people of China had an an- 
cient fyftem of ceremonies and fuperftitions, 
which the government and the philofophers ap- 
pear to have encouraged, and which has an ap- 
parent affinity with fome parts of the oldeft /«- 
dian worfhip : they believed in the agency of 
genii or tutelary fpirits, prefiding over the ftars 
and the clouds, over lakes and riveVs, mountains, 
valleys, and woods, over certain regions and 
towns, over all the elements (of which, like the 
Hindus, they reckoned jive) and particularly 

VOL. I. N 



over fire, the moft brilliant of them : to thofci 
deities they offered victims on high places ; and 
the following paffage from the Shi-cin, or Book 
of Odes, is very much in the ftyle of the Brdh~ 
mam : “ Even they, who perform a facrifice with 
“ due reverence, cannot perfectly alTure them- 
“ felves, that the divine fpirits accept their ob- 
“ lations j and far lefs can they, who adore the 
“ Gods with languor and ofcitancy, clearly per- 
“ ceive their facred illapfes.” Thefe are im- 
perfect traces indeed, but they are traces, of an 
affinity between the religion of Menu and that 
of the Chinas, whom he names among the apof- 
tates from it: M. Le Gentil obfervcd, he fays, 
a ftrong refemblance between the funeral rites of 
the Chinefe and the Srdddba of the Hindus: 
and M. Bailly, after a learned inveftigation, 
concludes, that “ Even the puerile ^nd abfurd 
“ (lories of the Chinefe fabulifts cpntain a rem- 
*• nant of ancient Indian hiftory, with a faint 
“ fketch of the firft Hindu ages.” As the Baudd- 
has, indeed, were Hindus, it may naturally be 
imagined, that they carried into China many 
ceremonies praClifed in their own country j 
but the Bauddbas pofitively forbad the immo- 
lation of cattle ; yet we kpow, that various ani- 
mals, evdfi bulls and men, were anciently fa- 
crificed by the Chinefe ; befides which we dif- 
cover many fingular marks of relation between 



them and the old Hindus : as in the remarkable 
period of four hundred and thirty two thoufandt 
and the cycle of fixty.^ years-; in the prediledlion 
for the myftical number nine ; in many fimilar 
fafts and great feftivals, efpecially at the folftices 
and equinoxes; in the juft-mentioned obfequies 
confifting of rice and fruits offered to the manes 
of their anceftors ; in the dread of dying child- 
lefs, left fuch offerings fhould be intermitted ; 
and, perhaps, in their common abhorrence of 
red objects, which the Indians carried fo far, 
that Menu himfelf, where he allows a Brahmen 
to trade, if he cannot otherwife fupport life, ab- 
folutely forbids “• his trafficking in any fort of 
“ red cloths, whether linen or woollen, or made 
“ of woven bark.” All the circumftances, which 
have been mentioned under th^ two heads of 
literature and religion^ feem colledkively to prove 
(as far as fuch a queftion admits proof) that the 
Chineje and Hindus were originally the fame 
people, but having been feparated near four 
thoufand years, have retained few ftrong features 
of their ancient confanguinity, elpecially as the 
Hitidus have preferved their old language and 
ritual, while the Chinefe very foon loft both, and 
the Hitidus have conftantly intermarried among 
themfelves, wffiile the Chinefe, by a mixture of 
Tartarian blood from the time of their firft 
eftabliffiment, have at length formed _ a race 


fliftindl in appearance both from Indians and 

A fimilar diverfity has arifen, I believe, from 
fimilar caufes, between the people of China and 
Japan ; on the fecond of which nations we have 
now, or foon fhall have, as correft and as ample 
inftruition as can poflibly be obtained without 
a perfcdl acquaintance with the Cbinefe charac- 
ters. Kjempfer has taken from M. Titsingh 
the honour of being the lirft, and he from 
KiRMi’FER that of being the only, European, 
who, by a long refidence in Japan, and a fami- 
liar intcrcourfe with the principal natives of it, 
has been able to collect authentick materials for 
the natural and civil hiftory of a country fecluded, 
as the Romans ufed to fay of our own ifland, 
from the rejl oj the world: the works of thofe 
illuftrious travellers will confirm and embellifh 
each other; and, when M. Titsingh fliall 
have acquired a knowledge of Chineje, to which 
a part of his leifurc in Java will be devoted, his 
precious colle£lion of books in that language, on 
the laws and revolutions, the natural productions, 
the arts, manufactures and fciences of Japan, 
will be in his hands an inexhauftible mine of 
new and important information. Both he and 
his predeceflbr alTert with, confidence, and, I 
doubt not, with truth, that the Japanefe would 
refent, as an infult on their dignity, the bare 



fuggeftion of their defcent from the Chiiiefe, 
whom they furpafs in feveral of the mechanical 
arts, and, what is of greater confequence, in mi- 
litary fpirit ; but they do not, I underftand, 
mean to deny, that they are a branch of tlie 
fame ancient ftem with the people of Cl ina ; 
and, were that fa£t ever fo warmly contefted by 
them, it might be proved by an invincible ar- 
gument, if the preceding part of this difcourle, 
on the origin of the Cbinefe, be thought to con- 
tain juft reafoning. In the firft place, it fecms 
inconceivable, that the Japancfey who never 
appear to have been conquerors or conquered, 
fliould have adopted the wliole fyftem of Cbinefe 
literature with all its inconveniences and intri- 
cacies, if an immemorial connexion had not fub- 
fifted between the two nations, or, in other 
words, if the bold and ingenioifs race, ’who peo- 
pled fapan in the middle of the thirteenth cen- 
tury before Christ, and, about fix hundred 
years afterwards, eftablifhed their monarchy, had 
not carried with them the letters and learning, 
which they and the Cbinefe had poftefl'ed in 
'Common; but my principal argument is, that 
the Hindu or Egyptian idolatry has prevailed in 
yapan from the earlieft ages; and among the 
idols worlhipped, according to K^empfer, in 
that country, before the innovations of Sa'cy a or 
PuDDHA, whom the Japanefe alfo call Amida, 



we find many of thofe, which we fee every day 
in the temples of Bengal ; particularly the god-> 
defs with many arms, reprefenting the powers 
of Nature, in Egypt riamed Isis and here Isa'ni' 
or Isi , whofe image, as it is exhibited by the 
German traveller, all the Brahmans, to whom I 
fhowed it, immediately recognized with a mix- 
ture of pleafure and enthufiafm, It is very true, 
that the Chinefe differ widely from the natives 
of 'Japan in their vernacular dialects, in external 
manners, and perhaps in the ftrength of their 
mental faculties ; but as wide a difference is ob- 
fervable among all the nations of the Gothick fa- 
mily; and we might account even for a greater 
diflimilarity, by confidcring the number of ages, 
during which the feveral fwarms have been fe- 
parated from the great Indian hive, to which 
they primarily belonged. The modern Japanefe 
gave K^mpfer the idea of poliftied Tartars ; 
and it is reafonable to believe, that the people of 
Japan, who were originally Hindus of the mar- 
tial clafs and advanced farther eaftward than the 
Chinas, have, like them, infenfibly changed their 
features and charaders by intermarriages with 
various Tartarian tribes, whom they found 
loofely fcattered over their ifles, or who after- 
wards fixed their abode in'^them. 

Having now Ihown in five difcourfes, that the 
Arabs and Tartars were originally diftind races. 



while the Hindus, Chinefe, and yapanefe pro- 
ceeded from another ancient ftem, and that all 
the three ftems may be traced to Irhi, as to a 
common centre, from which it is highly proba- 
ble, that they diverged -in various diredlions 
about four thoufand years ago, I may fecm to 
have accomplifhed my defign of inveftigating 
the origin of the AJiatick nations j but the 
qiieftions, which I undertook to difcufs, are not 
yet ripe for a ftrid; analytical argument ; and it 
will firft be ncceffary to examine with fcrupulous 
attention all the detached or infulatcd races of 
men, who either inhabit the borders of India, 
Arabia, Tartary, Perjia, and China, or are in- 
terfperfed in the mountainous and uncultivated 
parts of thofe cxtenfive regions. To this exa- 
mination I fhall, at our next annual meeting, 
allot an entire difcourfe ; and if? after dll our in- 
quiries, no more than three primitive races can 
be found, it will be a fubfequent confideration, 
whether thofe three ftocks had one common 
root, and, if they had, by what means that root 
was prcferved amid the violent fhocks, which 
our whole globe appears evidently to have fuf- 







W E have taken a general view, at our five laft 
annual meetings, of as many celebrated nations, 
whom we have proved, as far as the fubjcifi: ad- 
mits of proof, to have defcended from three 
primitive ftocks, which we call for the prefcnt 
Indian, Arabian, Tartarian ; and we .have near- 
ly travelled over all ^Jia, if not with a perfedt 
coincidence of fentiment, at leaft, with as much 
unanimity, as can be naturally expedted in a 
large body of men, each of whom muft aflert it 
as his right, and confider it as his duty, to de- 
cide on all points for himfelf, and never to de- 
cide on obfcure points without the beft evidence, 
that can polfibly be adduced ; our travels will 
this day be concluded, but our hiftorical re- 
featches would have been left incomplete, if we 
had pafied without attentioit over th? numerous 


races of borderers, who have long been eftablifhed 
on the limits of ArMa, Perjia, India, China, 
and Tartary f over the wild tribes refiding in the 
mountainous parts of thofe extenfive regions; 
and the more civilized inhabitants of the iflands 
annexed by geographers to their AJiatick divifioa 
of this globe. 

Let us take our departure from Tdiime near 
the gulf of Elanitis, and, having encircled AJia, 
with fuch deviations from our courfe as the fub- 
je£l; may require, let us return to the point, from 
which we began ; endeavouring, if we are able, 
to find a nation, who may clearly be fhown, by 
juft reafoning from their language, religion, and 
manners, to be neither Indians, Arabs, nor Tar- 
tars, pure or mixed ; but always remembering, 
that any fmall family detached in an early age 
from their parent ftock, without letters, with 
few ideas beyond objeefts of the firft neceflity, 
and confequently with few words, and fixing 
their abode on a range of mountains, in an 
ifland, or even in a wide region before unin- 
habited, might in four or five centuries people 
their new country, and would neceflarily form 
a new language with no perceptible traces, per- 
haps, of that fpoken by their anceftors. Edom 
or Idume, and Erythra or Pbcenice, had ori- 
ginally, as many believe, a fimilar meaning, and 
•were derived from words denoting a red colour } 


but, whatever be their derivation, it feems in- 
dubitable, that a race of men were anciently 
fettled in Idume and in Median^ whom the oldeft 
and heft Greek authors call Erythreans who 
were very diftin£t from the Arabs ; and whom, 
from the concurrence of many ftrong teftimonies, 
we may fafely refer to the Indian ftem. M. 
D’Herbelot mentions a tradition (which he 
treats, indeed, as a fable), that a colony of thofe 
Idumeans had migrated from the northern fliores 
of the Erythrean fea, and failed acrofs the 
Mediterranean to Europe, at' the time fixed by 
Chronologers for the paflage of Evander with 
his Arcadians into Italy, and that both Greeks 
and Romans were the progeny of thofe emi- 
grants. It is not on vague and fufpedled tradi- 
tions, that we muft build our belief of fuch 
events; but Newton, who advanced nothing 
in fcience without demonftration, and nothing 
in hiftory without fuch evidence as he thought 
conclufive, afferts from authorities, which he had 
carefully examined, that the Idumean voyagers 
carried with them both arts and fciences, 
among which were their aftronomy, naviga- 
tion, and letters ; for in Idume, fays he, they 
had letters, and names for conjiellations, before 
the days of Job, who mentions them.” Job, 
indeed, or the author of the book, which takes 
^ts pame from him, was of the Arabian flock, 



as the language of that fubllme work inconteft- 
ably proves j but the invention and propaga- 
tion of letters and aftronomy are by all fo juftly 
afcribed to the Indian faniily, that, if Strabo 
and Herodotus were not grofsly deceived, the 
adventurous Idumeans, who lirft gave names to 
the ftars, and hazarded long voyages in llrips of 
their own conftrudiion, could be no other than a 
branch of the Hindu race : in all events, there is 
no ground for believing them of a fourth difl:in<5 
lineage ; and we need fay no more of them, till 
we meet them again, on our return, under the 
name of Pbenicians, 

As we pafs down the formidable fea, which 
rolls over its coral bed between the coaft of the 
Arabs, or thofe, who fpeak the pure language of 
Ismail, and that of the Ajams, or thofe, who 
mutter it barbaroujly, we find no Certain traces, 
on the Arabian fide, of any people, who were 
not originally Arabs of the genuine or mixed 
breed: anciently, perhaps, there were Troglo- 
dytes in part of the peninfula, but they feem tq 
have been long fupplanted by the Nomades, or 
wandering herdfinen ; and who thofe Troglodytes 
were, we (hall fee very clearly, if we deviate a 
few moments from our intended path, and make 
a Abort excurfion into countries very lately ex- 
plored on the Weftern, or African, fide of the 
Red Sea. 


That the written ^byjfmian language, which 
we call Etbiopich, is a dialed^ of old Chaldean, 
and a fifter of Arabich and Hebrew, we know 
with certainty, not only from the great multitude 
of identical words, but (which is a far ftronger 
proof) from the fimilar grammatical arrangement 
of the fcveral idioms : we know at the fame time, 
that it is written, like all the Indian charadfers, 
from the left hand to the right, and that the 
vowels are annexed, as in Hevandgari, to the 
confonants ; with which they form a fyllabick 
fyftcm extremely clear and convenient, but dif- 
pofed in a lefs artificial order than the fyftem of 
letters now exhibited in the Sanferit grammars ; 
whence it may juftly be inferred, that the order 
contrived by Pa nini or his difciples is com- 
paratively modern ; and I have no doubt, from 
a curfory examination of many old inferiptions 
on pillars and in caves, which have obligingly 
been fent to me from all parts of India, that the 
Ndgar't and Ethiopian letters had at firft a fimilar 
form. It has long been my opinion, that the 
Abyjfinians of the Arabian Hock, having no fym- 
bols of their own to reprefent articulate founds, 
borrowed thofe of the black pagans, whom the 
Greeks call Troglodytes, from their primeval ha- 
bitations in natural caverns, or in mountains ex- 
cavated by their own labour: they were probably 
|he firft inhabitants of Africa, where they be- 



came in time the builders of magnificent cities, 
the founders of feminaries for the advancement 
of fcience and philofophy, and the inventors (if 
they were not rather the importers) of fymbolical 
characters. I believe on the whole, that the 
Etbiops of Meroe were the fame people with the 
firft Egyptians, and confequently, as it might 
eafily be fhowni with the original Hindus. To 
the ardent and intrepid Mr. Bruce, whofe 
travels are to my tafte uniformly agreeable and 
fatisfaClory, though he thinks very differently 
from me on the language and genius of the 
Arabs, wc are indebted for more important, and, 
I believe, more accurate, information concerning 
the nations eftabliflied near the Nile from its 
fountains to its mouths, than all Europe united 
could before have fupplied ; but, fince he has 
not been at the pains to compare the feven lan- 
guages, of which he has exhibited a fpecimen, 
and fince I have not leifure to make the com- 
parifon, I muft be fatisfied with obferving, on 
his authority, that the dialeCts of the Gajots and 
the Gallas, the Agows of both races, and the 
Falajhas, who muft originally have tifed a Chal- 
dean idiom, were never preferved in writing, 
and the Ambarick only in modern times : they 
muft, therefore, have been for ages in fluctuation, 
and can lead, perhaps, to no certain conclufion 
as to the origin of the feveral tribes, who an- 


ciently fpoke them. It is very remarkable, as 
Mr. Bruce and Mr. Bryant have proved, 
that the Greeks gave the appellation of Indians 
both to the fouthern nations of Ajrick and to 
the people, among we now live j nor is it lefs 
obfervable, that, according to Ephorus quoted 
by Strabo, they called all the fouthern nations 
in the world Ethiopians, thus iifing Indian and 
Ethiop as convertible terms : but we muft leave 
the gymnofophifts of Ethiopia, who feem to have 
profefled the doftrines of Buddha, and enter 
the great Indian ocean, of which their AJiatick 
and African brethren w’ere probably the firft 

On the iflands near Yemen we have little to 
remark : they appear now to be peopled chiefly 
by Mohammedatis, and afford no marks of dif- 
crimination, with which I am acquainted, either 
in language or manners ; but I cannot bid fare- 
wel to the coafl of Arabia, without affuring you, 
that, whatever may be faid of Omtndn, and the 
Scythian colonies, who, it is imagined, were for- 
merly fettled there, I have met with no trace in 
the maritime part of Yemen, from Aden to Maf- 
kat, of any nation, who were not either Arabs 
or AbyJJinian invaders. 

Between that country and Iran are fome 
iflands, which, from their infignificance in our 
prefent inquiry, may here be neglected ; and, as 



to the CurdSy or other independent races, who 
inhabit the branches of Taurus or the banks of 
Euphrates and TigriSy they have, I believe, no 
written language, nor any certain memorials of 
their origin : it has, indeed, been aflerted by 
travellers, that a race of wanderers in Diydrbecr 
yet fpeak the Chaldaick of our feripture; and 
the rambling Turemdns have retained, I imagine, 
fome traces of their Tartarian idioms ; but, fince 
no veftige appears, from the gulf of Perjia to 
the rivers Cur and AraSy of any people diftindt 
from the Arabs, Perjians, or TartarSy we may 
conclude, that no fuch people exifts in the Ira- 
nian mountains, and return to thofe, which fe- 
parate Iran from India. The principal in- 
habitants of the mountains, called Pdrficiy where 
they run towards the weft, Parvetiy from a 
known Sanferit word, where fhey turn in an 
eaftern direction, and Paropamifus, where they 
join Imaus in the north, were anciently dif- 
tinguiflied among the Brahmans by the name 
of Deradas, but feem to have been deftroyed or 
expelled by the numerous tribes of Afghans or 
Patans, among whom are the Balojas, who give 
their name to a mountainous diftrid ; and there 
is very folid ground for believing, that the Af- 
ghans defeended from the feivs ; becaufe they 
fometimes in confidence avow that unpopular 
origin, which in general they feduloully conceal, 


and which other Mufelmans pofitively aflert 5 
becaufe Hazaret, which appears to be the 
reib of Esdras, is one of their territories ; and, 
principally, becaufe itheir language is evidently 
a dialed! of the fcriptural Chaldaick. 

We come now to the river Sindhu and the 
country named from it : near its mouths we find 
a diftridl, called by Ne arch us, in his journal, 
Sangada ‘y which M. D’Anvillr juftly fup- 
pofes to be the feat of the Sangatiians, a bar- 
barous and piratical nation mentioned by modern 
travellers, and well known at prefent by our 
countrymen in the weft of India. Mr. Malet, 
now refidcnt at Pima on the part of the Britijh 
government, procured at my requeft the San- 
ganian letters, which are a fort of Ndgari, and 
a fpecimen of their language, which is apparently 
derived, like other Indian dialedls, from the 
Sanjerii ; nor can I doubt, from the deferiptions, 
which I have received, of their perfons and 
manners, that they are PdmeraSy as the Brah- 
mans call them, or outcaft HinduSy immemorially 
feparated from the reft of the nation. It feems 
agreed, that the fingular people, called Egyptians^ 
and, by corruption, GypJieSy pafled the Mediter- 
ranean immediately from Egypt ; and their mot- 
ley language, of which iVir. Grellmann ex- 
hibits a copious vocabulary, contains fo many 
Sanferit words, that their Itidian origin can 


hardly be doubted : the authenticity of that vo- 
cabulary feems eftablifhed by a multitude of 
Gypfy words, as angar, charcoal, cdjbth, wood, 
pdr^ a bank, bhu^ earth, aiid a hundred more, 
for which the colledior of them could find no 
parallel in the vulgar diale£t of Hindujidn, 
though we know them to be pure Sanjcrit 
fcarce changed in a fingle letter. A very in- 
genious friend, to whom this remarkable fad: 
was imparted, fuggefted to me, that thofe very 
words might have been taken from old Egyptian, 
and that the Gypfies were Troglodytes from, the 
rocks near Thebes, where a race of banditti ftill 
refemble them in their habits and features ; but, 
as we have no other evidence of fo ftrong an 
affinity between the popular dialeds of old Egypt 
and India, it feems more probable, that the 
Gypfies, whom the Italians call* Zingdros, and 
Zinganos, were no other than Zinganians, as 
M. D’Anville alfo writes the word, who 
might, irvfome piratical expedition, have landed 
on the coaft of Arabia or Africa, whence they 
might, have rambled to Egypt, and at length 
have migrated, or been driven into Europe. To 
the kindnefs of Mr. Malet I am alfo indebted 
for an account of the Boras ; a remarkable race 
of men inhabiting chiefly the cities of Gujarat, 
who, though Mufelmans in religion, are Jeivs 
in features, genius, and manners : they form in 
VOL. I. o 


all places a diflindl fraternity, and are every 
■where noted for addrefs in bargaining, for mi- 
nute thrift, and conftant attention to lucre, but 
profefs total ignorance of their own origin ; 
though it feems probable, that they came firft 
with their brethren the Afghans to the borders 
of Jndia^ where they learned in time to prefer a 
gainful and fecure occupation in populous towns 
to perpetual wars and laborious exertions on the 
mountains. As to the- Moplas^ in the weftern 
parts of the Indian empire, I have feen their 
books in Arahick, and am perfuaded, that, like 
the people called Malays^ they defcended from 
Arabian traders and mariners after the age of 

On the continent of India, between the river 
Vipdfa, or Hyphajis^ to the weft, the mountains 
of Tripura znA CdmarupaX-o the eaft, and Hima- 
laya to the north, we find many races of wild 
people with more or lefs of that priftine ferocity, 
which induced their anceftors to fecede from the 
civilized inhabitants of the plains and valleys ; 
in the moft ancient Sanjcrit books they are 
called Sacas, Cirdtas, Colas, Pulindas, Barbaras, 
and are all known to Europeans, though not 
all by their true names ; but many Hindu pil- 
grims, who have travelled through their haunts, 
have fully defcribed them to me ; and I have 
found reafons for believing, that they fprang 


from the old Indian ftem, though fome of 
them were foon intermixed with the firft ram- 
blers from TjjLary, whofe language feoms to 
have been the balls of that now fpoken by. 
the Moguls. 

We come back to the Indian illands, and 
haften to thofe, which lie to the fouth-eaft of 
Sildn^ or Taprobane', for Sildn itfelf, as we know 
from the languages, letters, religion, and old. 
monuments of its various inhabitants, w^as peo-. 
pled beyond time of memory by the Hindu race, 
and formerly, perhaps, extended much farther 
to the well and to the fouth, fo as to include 
Lancd, or the equinotflial point of the Indian 
allronomers; nor can we reafonably doubt, that 
the fame enterpriling family planted colonies in 
the other illes of the fame ocean from the Ma- 
layadwipas which take their name from the 
mountain of Malaya, to the Moluccas, or Mal- 
licds, and probably far beyond them. Captain 
Forrest allured me, that he found the ille of 
Bali (a great name in the hiftorical poems of 
India ) chiefly peopled by Hindus, who worflrip- 
ped the fame idols, which he had feen in this 
province ; and that of Madbin d mull have been 
fo denominated, like the well known territory 
in the wellern peninfula, by" a nation, who un- 
derftood Sanfcrit. We need not be furprized, 
that M. D’Anville was unable to alfign a rea- 

o 2 


fon, why the Jabadios^ or Tavadwipa^ of Pto- 
lemy was rendered in the old La/w verfion the 
ifle of Barley ; but we muft admire the inqui- 
fitive fpirit and patient labour of the Greeks and 
Romans, whom nothing obfervable feems to 
have efcaped ; Tarta means l>arley in Sanfcrit ; 
and, though that word, or its regular derivative, 
be now applied folely to yava, yet the great 
French geographer adduces very ftrong reafons 
for believing, that the ancients applied it to Su- 
matra. In whatever way the name of the lad 
mentioned ifland may be written by Europeans, 
it is clearly an Indian word, implying abundance 
or excellence ; but we cannot help wondering, 
that neither the natives of it, nor the bed in- 
formed of our Pandits, know it by any fuch ap- 
pellation; efpecially as it dill exhibits vifible 
traces of a primeval connexion with India: from 
the very accurate and intereding account of it 
by a learned and ingenious member of our own 
body, we difcover, without any recourfe to ety- 
mological conjedture, that multitudes of pure 
Sanfcrit words occur in the principal dialedls of 
the Sumatrans ; that, among their laws, two 
pofitive rules concerning and interejl ap- 

pear to be taken vpord for word from the Indian 
Icgiflators Na ked and Ha ri'ta ; and, what is 
yet more obfervable, that the fydem of letters, 
ufed by the people of Bejang and hampun, has 


the fame artificial order with the Devanagafi ; 
but in every feries one letter is omitted, becaufe 
it is never found in the languages of thofe 
illanders. If Mr. Mars den has proved (as he 
firmly believes, and as we, from our knowledge 
of his accuracy, may fairly prefume) that clear 
veftiges of one ancient language are difcernible 
in all the infular dialcd:s of the fouthern feas 
from Madagafciir to the Philippines and even to 
the remoteft iflands lately difcovered, we may 
infer from the fpecimens in his account of Su- 
matra, that the parent of them all was no other 
than the Sanfcrit; and with this obfervation, 
having nothing. of confequence to add on the 
ChineJ'e illes or on thofe of Japan^ I leave the 
farthcft eaftern verge of this continent, and turn 
to the countries, now under the government of 
Cbina^ between the northern limits of India, 
and the extenfive domain of thofe Tartars, who 
are ftill independent. 

That the people of Pdtyid or Tibet were Hin~ 
dus, who engrafted the herefies of Buddha on 
their old mythological religion, we know from 
the refearches of Cassiano, who long had re- 
fided among them ; and whofe difquifitions on 
their language and letters, their tenets and forms 
of worlhip, are inferred by Gjorgi in his curious 
but prolix compilation, which I have had the 
patience to read from the firft to the laft of nine 


hundred rugged pages : their characters are ap- 
parently Indian^ but their language has now the 
difadvantage qF being written with more letters 
than are ever pronounced ; for, although it was 
anciently Sanfcrit and polyfyllabick, it feems at 
prefent, from the influence of Cbinefe manners, 
to confift of monofyllables, to form which, with 
feme regard to grammatical derivation, it has 
become neceflary to fupprefs in common dif- 
courfe many letters, which we fee in their books ; 
and thus we arc enabled to trace in their writing 
a number of Sanfcrit words and phrafes, which 
in their fpoken dialeCtare quite undiflinguifliable. 
The two engravings in Giorgi’s book, from 
fkctches by a Tihetian painter, exhibit a fyftcm 
of Egyptian and Indian mythology ; and a com- 
plete explanation of them would have done the 
learned author more credit than his fanciful ety- 
mologies, which are always ridiculous, and often 
grofsly erroneous. 

The Tartars having been wholly unlettered, 
as they freely confefs, before their converfion to 
the religion of Arabia, we cannot but fufpeCt, 
that the natives of Eighur, Tanciit, and Khatdy 
who had fyftems of letters and are even faid to 
have cultivated liberal arts., were not of the Tar- 
tarian, but of the Indian, family ; and I apply 
the £une remark to the nation, whom we call 
BarmaSy but who are known to the Pandits by 


the name of Brahmachinas^ and feem to have 
been the Brachmani of Ptolemy: they were 
probably rambling Hindus, who, dcfcending from 
the northern parts of the eaftern peninfula, car- 
ried with them the letters now ufed in Ava, 
w'hich arc no more than a round Ndgar'i derived 
from the fquare chara£Vers, in which the P/di, or 
facred language ■ of Buddha’s priefts in that 
country, was anciently written ; a language, by 
the way, very nearly allied to the Sanjerii, if we 
can depend on the tcllimony of M. De la 
Loubrre ; who, though always an acute- ob- 
ferver, and in general a faithful reporter, of fadts, 
is charged by C4 RT‘Anius with having miflaken 
the Banna for the Bali letters ; and when, on 
his authority, I fpoke of the Bali writing to a 
young chief of Aracan, who read with facility 
the books of the Bunnas, he corrected me with 
politenefs, and afi'ured me, that the I'dli lan- 
guage was wiittcn by the priells in a much 
older charadfer. us now return eaftward to the fartheft 
AJiaiick dominions of Hajjia, and, rounding 
them on the northeaft, pals diredtly to the Hy- 
perboreans', who, from all that can be learned 
of their old religion and manners, appear like 
the MaJfagcUr, and foine other nations ufually 
conlidered as Tartars, to have been really of the 
Goibick, that is of the Hindu, race j for f coor 


fidently aflume, that the Gotbs and the Hindus 
had originally the fame language, gave the fame 
appellations to the ftars and planets, adored the 
fame falfe deities, performed the fame bloody 
facrifices, and profelTed the fame notions of re- 
wards and punifhments after death. I would 
not infift with M. B a illy, that the people of 
Finland were Gotbs, merely becaufe they have 
the word Jhip in their language ; while the reft 
of it appears wholly diftin(ft from any of the 
Gothick idioms : the publiftiers of the Lord’s 
Prayer in many languages reprefent the Finnijb 
and Lapponian as nearly alike, and the Hun~ 
garian as totally different from them ; but this 
muft be an errour, if it be true, that a RuJJian 
author has lately traced the Hungarian from its 
primitive feat between the Cajpian and the 
Euxine, as far as Lapland itfelf ; and, lince the 
Huns were confeffedly Tartars, we may con- 
clude, that all the northern languages, except 
the Gotbick, had a Tartarian origin, like that 
univerfally aferibed to the various branches of 

On the Armetuan, which I never ftudied, be- 
eaufe I could not hear of any original compofi- 
tions in it, I can offer nothing decifive ; but am 
convinced, from the beft information procurable 
in Bengal, that its bafis was ancient Perfian of 
the fame Indian ftock with the Zend, and that 


it has been gradually changed fmce the time, 
when Armenia ceafed to be a province of Iran : 
the letters, in which it now appears, are allowed 
to be comparatively modern ; and, though the 
learned editor of the tra£t by Carpanius on 
the literature of Ava^ compares them with the 
Pali characters, yet, if they be not, as I Ihould 
rather imagine, derived from the Vahlavi^ they 
are probably an invention of fome learned Ar- 
mefiian in the middle of the fifth century. Mo- 
ses of Khoren^ than whom no man Was more 
able to elucidate the fubjeCt, has inferted in his 
hiftorical work a difquifition on the language of 
Armenia^ from .which we might colledt fome 
curious information, if the prefent occafion re- 
quired it j but to' all the races of men, who in- 
habit the branches of Caucajus and the northern 
limits of Pan, I apply the remark, before an<!» 
nounced generally, that ferocious and hardy 
tribes, who retire for the fake of liberty to 
mountainous regions, and form by degrees a 
feparate nation, muft alfo form in the end a fe- 
parate language by agreeing on new words to 
exprefs new ideas ; provided that the language, 
which they carried with them, was not fixed by 
writing and fufiiciently copious. * The Armenian 
damfels are faid by Strabo to have facrificed in 
the temple of the goddefs Anaitis, whom we 
know, from other authorities, to be the Na hi'o, 


pr Venus, of the old Pvrjians; and it is for 
many real'ons highly probable, that one and the 
iame religion prevailed through the whole em- 
pire of CVRUS. 

Having travelled round the continent, and 
among the iflands, of we come again to 
the coaft of the Mediterranean ; and the prin- 
cipal nations of antiquity, who firft demand our 
attention, are the Greeks and Phrygians, who, 
though differing fomewhat in manners, and per- 
haps in dialedt, had an apparent affinity in re- 
ligion as well as in language: the Dorian, Ionian, 
and Eolian families having emigrated from 
Europe, to which it is univerlally agreed that 
they firfl paffed from Egypt, I can add nothing 
to what has been advanced concerning them in 
former difeourfes ; and, no written monuments 
of old Phrygia being extant, I ihall only obferve, 
on the authority of the Greeks, that the grand 
objedl of myfterious worfhip in that country 
was the Mother of the Gods, or Nature per- 
fonified, as we fee her among the Indians in a 
thoufand forms and under a thouliind names. 
She was called in the Phrygian dialedt Ma', 
and reprefented in a car drawn by lions, with a 
drum in her hand, and a towered coronet on 
her head : her myfteries (which leem to be 
alluded to in the Mofaick law) are folemnized 
at the autumnal equinox in thefe provinces. 



where fhe is named, in one of her charafters, 
Ma', is adored, in all of them, as the great 
Mother, is figured fitting on a lion^ and appears 
in feme of her temples with a diadem or mitre 
of turrets : a drum is called dindima both in 
Sanferit and Phrygian ; and the title of Dindy- 
mene feems rather derived from that word, than 
from the name of a mountain. The Diana of 
Ephefiis was manifettly the fame goddefs in the 
charadfer of productive Nature; and the As- 
TARTE of the Syridns and Pbeniciajis ' to v^hom 
we now return ) was, I doubt not, the fame in 
another for-m : I may on the whole afliire you, 
that the learned works of SitLDEN and Jab- 
LONSKijOnthe Gods of Syria and Egypt^ would 
receive more illuftration from the little Sanferit 
book, entitled Chandi^ than from all thefraginents 
of orienta' mythology, that are difperfed in the 
whole compafs of Grecian^ Roman, and Hi'brnu 
literature. We are told, that the Fhcniciuns, 
like the Hindus, adored the Sun, and aflbrted 
water to be the firft of created things ; nor can 
we doubt, that Syria, Samaria, and Phenice, or 
the long ftrip of land on the fhore of the Me- 
diterranean, were anciently peopled by a branch 
of the Indian ftock, bpt were afterw'ards inhabit- 
ed by that race, which for the prefent we call 
Arabian : in all three the oldeft religion was the 
Mffyrian, as it is called by Seloen, and the 


Samaritan letters appear to have been the fame 
at firft with thofe of Pbenice j but the Syriack 
language, of which ample remains are preferved, 
and the Punick, of which we have a clear fpe- 
cimen in Plautus and on monuments lately 
brought to light, were indifputably of a Cbal’- 
daick^ or Arabick, origin. 

The feat of the firft Pbeniciam having extend- 
ed to Idume, with which we began, we have now 
completed the circuit of AJia ; but we muft not 
pafs over in filence a moft extraordinary people, 
who efcaped the attention, as Barrow obferves 
more than once, of the diligent and inquifitive 
Herodotus : I mean the people of yudea^ 
whofe language demonftrates their affinity with 
the Arabs, but whofe manners, literature, and 
hiftory are wonderfully diftinguiftied from the 
reft of mankind. ' Barrow loads then) with the 
fevere, but juft, epithets of malignant, unfocial, 
obftinate, diftruftful, fordid, changeable, turbu- 
lent j and deferibes them as furioufly zealous in 
fuccouring their own countrymen, but impla- 
cably hoftile to other nations ; yet, with all the 
fottifti perverfenefs, the ftupid arrogance, and 
the brutal atrocity of their character, they had 
the peculiar metit, among all races of men under 
heaven, of preferving a rational and pure fyftem 
of devotion in the midft of wild polytheifm, 
inhuman or obfeene rites, and a dark labyrinth 



of errours produced by ignorance and fupported 
by interefted fraud. Theological inquiries are 
no part of my prefent fubjedt ; but I cannot 
refrain from adding, that the collection of tradls, 
which we call from their excellence the Scrip- 
tures, contain, independently of a divine origin, 
more true fublimity, more exquifite beauty, 
purer morality, more important hiilory, and 
finer ftrains both of poetry and eloquence, than 
could be collected within the fame compafe 
from all other books, that were ever compofed 
in any age or in any idiom. The two parts, of 
which the Scriptures confift, are connected by a 
chain of compofitions, which bear no refemblance 
in form or ftyle to any that can be produced 
from the ftores of* Greciim, Indian, Perficm, or 
even Arabian, learning: the antiquity of thofe 
compofitions no man doubts ; and the unftrain- 
ed application of them to events long fubfequent 
to their publication is a folid ground of belief^ 
that they were genuine predictions, and con- 
fequently infpired ; but, if any thing be the 
abfolute exclufive property of each individual, 
it is his belief ; and, I hope, I fliould be one of 
. the laft men living, who could harbour a thought 
of obtruding my own belief on the free minds 
of others. I mean only to affume, what, I truft, 
will be readily conceded, that the firft Hebrew 
lilftorian muit be entitled, merely as fuch, to an 


equal degree of credit, in his account of all civil 
tranfaflions, with any other hiftorian of an- 
tiquity : how far that moft ancient writer con- 
firms the refult of our inquiries into the ge- 
nealogy of nations, I propofe to {how at our 
next anniverfar^' meeting ; when, after an ap- 
proach to demonftration, in the ttridl: method of 
the old analyfis, I fhall refume the whole argu- 
ment concifely and fynthetically ; and (hall then 
have condenfed in feven difcourfes a mafs of 
evidence, which, if brevity had pot been my 
object, might have been expanded into feven 
large volumes with no other trouble than that of 
holding the pen ; but (to borrow a turn of ex- 
preffion from one of our poets) “ for what I 
“ have produced, I claim only your indulgence ; 
^ it is for what I have fuppreflTed, that I am 
“ entitled to yotir thanks.” 







You have attended, gentlemen, with fo much 
indulgence to my dil'courfes on the five ^Jiatick 
nations, and on the various tribes eftablilhed 
along their fevcral borders or interfperfed over 
their mountains, that 1 cannot but flatter myfelf 
with an aiTurance of being heafd with equal at- 
tention, while I trace to one centre the three 
great families, from which thoie nations appear 
to have proceeded, and then hazard a few con- 
jedtures on the different courfes, which they 
may be fuppofed to have taken toward the 
countries, in which we find them fettled at the 
dawn of all genuine hiftory. 

Let us begin with a fliort review of the pro- 
pofitions, to which \’^e have gradually been led, 
and feparate fuch as are morally certain, from 
fuch as are only probable : that the firft race of 



Perjians and Itidians, to whom we may add the 
Romans and Greeks, the Goths, and the old 
Egyptians or Ethiops, originally fpoke the fame. 
language and profefled the fame po pular f aith, is 
capable, in my humble opinion, of inconteftable 
proof ; that the Jews and Arabs, the AJfyrians, 
or fecond Perjian race, the people who fpoke 
Syriack, and a numerous tribe of Alyjfinians, 
ufed one primitive dial eft wholly diftinft from 
the idiom juft mentioned, is, I believe, undif- 
puted, and, I am fure, indifputable ; but that 
the fettlers ip C^na and Jagan had a common 
origin with the Hindus, is no more than highly 
probable ; and, that all the Tartars, as they are 
inaccurately called, were primarily of a third fe- 
parate branch, totally differing from the two 
others in language, manners, and features, may 
indeed be plaufibiy conjeftured, but cannot, for 
the reafons alledged in a former effay, be per- 
fpicuoufly fhown, and for the prefent therefore 
muft be merely affumed. Could thefe fafts bo 
verified by the beft attainable evidence, it would 
not, I prefume, be doubted, that the whole earth 
w'as peopled by a variety of fhoots from the In- 
dian, Arabian, and Tartarian branches, or by fuch 
intermixtures of them, as, in a courfe of ages, 
might naturally have happened. 

Now I admit without hefitation the aphorifin 
of LiNNjEUs, that “ in the beginning Gol> 


“ created one pair only of every living fpecieSj 
“ which has a diverlity of fex but, fince that 
incomparable naturalift argues principally from 
the wonderful dilFufion of Vegetables^ and from 
an hypothefis, that the water on this globe has 
been continually fubfiding, I venture to produce 
a (hotter and clofer argument in fiipport of his 
dodlrine. That l^ature^ of which fimplicity ap- 
pears a diftinguifhing attribute, does nothing in 
vain, is a maxim in philofophy ; and againft 
thofe, who deny maxims, we cannot difpute } 
but it is vain and fuperfluous to do by many 
means what may be done by fewer, and this is 
another axiom received into courts of judicature 
from the fchools of philofophers : \^}e mujl not, „ 
therefore, fays our great Newton, admit more 
caufes of natural things, than thofe, xvhich are true, 
and fufficiently account for natural ' phenomena ;} 
but it is true, that one pair at leajl of every 
living fpecies muft at hrft have been created ; 
and that one human pair was fufficient for the 
population of our globe in a period of no con- 
liderable length (on the very moderate fup- 
pofition of lawyers and political arithmeticians, 
that every pair of anceftors left on an average 
two children, and each of them two more), is 
evident from the rapid increafe of numbers in 
geometrical progreflion, ib well known to thofe, 
who have ever taken the trouble to fum a feries 

VOL. I. p 



of as many terms, as they fuppofe generations of 
men in two or three thoufand years. It follows, 
that the Author of Nature (for all nature pro- 
claims its divine autKor) created but one pair of 
our fpecies ; yet, had it not been (among other 
reafons) for the devaftations, which hiftory has 
recorded, of water and fire, wars, famine, and 
peftilence, this earth would not now have had 
room for its multiplied inhabitants. If the hu- 
man race then be, as we may confidently aflume, 
of one natural fpecies, they muft all have pro- 
ceeded from one pair ; and if perfcft juftice be, 
as it is moll indubitably, an eflential attribute of 
GOD, that pair muft have been gifted with fuf* 
ficient wifdom and ftrength to be virtuous, and, 
as far as their nature admitted, happy, but in- 
trufted with freedom of will to be vicious and 
confequently degraded : whatever might be their 
option, they muft people in time the region 
where they firft were eftabliflied, and their nu- 
merous defendants muft neceffarily feek new 
countries, as inclination might prompt, or ac- 
cident lead, them ; they would of courfe migrate 
in feparate families and clans, which, forgetting 
by degrees the language of their common pro- 
g(Miitor, would form new dialeifts to convey new 
ideas, both fimple and Complex ; natural afiec- 
tion would unite them at firft, and a fenfe of 
ciprocal utility, the great and only cement of 


focial union in the abfence of publick honour 
and juftice, for which in evil times it is a general 
fubftitute, would combine them at length in com- 
munities more or lefs regular; laws would be 
propofed by a part of each community, but en- 
adted by the whole ; and governments w'^oiild be 
varioufly arranged for the happinefs or mifery of 
the governed, according to their own virtue and 
wifdom, or depravity and folly ; fo that, in lefs 
than three thoufand years, the world would ex- 
hibit the fame appearances, which we may ac- 
tually obferve on it in the age of the great Ara^ 
bian impoftor. 

On that part of it, to which our united re- 
fearches are generally confined, we fee Jive races 
of men peculiarly diftinguifhed, in the time of 
Mu HAM MED, for their multitude and extent of 
dominion ; but we have reduceii them to three^ 
becaufe we can difeover no more, that effentially 
differ in language, religion, manners, and other 
known charadterifticks : now thofe three races, 
how varioufly foever they may at prefent be dif- 
perfed and intermixed, muft (if the preceding 
conclufions be juftly drawn) have migrated ori- 
ginally from a central country, to find which is 
the problem propofed for folution’. Suppofe it 
folved; and give any atbitrary name to that 
centre: let it, if you pleafe, be Iran. The three 
primitive languages, therefore, mufi>at firft havljf 

p 2 



been concentrated in Iran^ and there only in fa£t 
we fee traces of them in the earlieft hiftorical 
age j but, for the fake of greater precifion, con- 
ceive the whole empire of Iran, with all its 
mountains and valleys, plains and rivers, to be 
every way infinitely diminiflied ; the firft wind- 
ing courfes, therefore, of all the nations proceed- 
ing from it by land, and nearly. at the fame time, 
will be little right lines, but without interfec- 
tions, becaufe thofe courfes could not have 
thwarted and croffed one another : if then you 
confider the feats of all the migrating nations as 
points in a furrounding figure, you will perceive, 
that the feveral rays, diverging from Iran, may 
be drawn to them without any interfettion ; but 
this will not happen, if you alfume as a centre 
Jrabia, or Egypt ; India, Tartary, or China : it 
follows, that Iriin, or Perfia (I contend for the 
meaning, not the name), was the central coun- 
try, which we fought. This mode of reafoning 
I have adopted, not from any affeftation (as you 
will ^o me the juftice to believe) of a fcientifick 
diefion, but for the fake of concifenefs and va- 
riety, and from a wifh to avoid repetitions ; the 
fubftance of my argument having been detailed 
in a different .form at the clofe of another dif- 
courfe ; nor does the arg&ment in any form rife 
to deraonftration, which the queftion by no means 
Admits: it amounts, however, to fuch a proof, 


grounded on written evidence and credible tef- 
timony, as all mankind hold fufficient for de- 
cilions affedting property, freedom, and life. 

Thus then have we proved, that the inhabit- 
ants of and confequently, as it might be 
proved, of the whole earth, fprang from three 
branches of one ftem : and that thofe branches 
have fhot into their prefent ftate of luxuriance 
in a period comparatively Ihort, Is apparent from 
a fact univerfally acknowledged, that we find no 
certain monument, or even probable tradition, 
of nations planted, empires and ftates raifed, 
laws enadled, cities built, navigation improved, 
commerce encouraged, arts invented, or letters 
contrived, above. twelve or at moft fifteen or 
fixteen centuries before the birth of Christ, 
and from another fadt, which* cannot be con- 
troverted, f hat feven hundred or a thoufand years 
would have been fully adequate to the fuppofed 
propagation, diffufion and eftablilhment of the 
human race. 

The moft ancient hiftory of that race, and 
the oldeft compofition perhaps in the world, is 
a work in Hebrew, which we may fuppofe at 
firft, for the fake of our argument, to have no 
higher authority than* any other work of equal 
antiquity, that the refearches of the curious had 
accidentally brought to light ': it is afcribed to 
Musah ; for fo he writes his ownnamp, which. 



after the Greeks and Romans^ we have changed 
into Moses ; and, though it was manifeftly his 
objedl to give an hiftorical account of a fingle 
family, he has introduced it with a fhort view 
of the primitive world, and his introdudtion has 
been divided, perhaps improperly, into eleven 
chapters. After defcribing with awful fublimity 
the creation of this univerfe, he aflerts, that one 
pair of every animal fpecies was called from no- 
thing into exiftence j that the human pair were 
ftrong enough to be happy, but free to be mifer- 
able j that, from delufion and temerity, they 
difobeyed their fupreme benefadtor, whofe good- 
nefs could not pardon them conliftently with 
his juftice ; and that they received a punilhment 
adequate to their difobedience, but foftened by 
a myfterious .prQmife to be accompliflied in their 
defendants. We cannot but believe, on the 
fuppofition juft made of a hiftory uninfpired, 
that thefe fadls were delivered by tradition from 
the firft pair, and related by Moses in a figu-? 
rative ftyle ; not in that fort of allegory, which 
rhetoricians defcribe as a mere aflemblage of 
metaphors, but in the fymbolical mode of writ- 
ing adopted by eaftern fages, to embellifh and 
dignify hiftorical truth ; a«nd, if this were a time 
for fuch illuftrations, we might produce the fame 
account of the creation and \hofall, exprefled by 
fyrabols very nearly fimilar, from the Purdnas 



themfelves, and even from the FMa, which ap- 
pears to ftand next in antiquity to the five books 
of Moses. 

The {ketch of antediluvian hiftory, in which 
we find many dark paflages, is followed by the 
narrative of a deluge, which deftroyed the whole 
race of man, except four pairs ; an hiftorical fa£l 
admitted as true by every nation, to whofe li- 
terature we have accefs, and particularly by the 
ancient Hindus, who have allotted an entire Pu- 
rdm to the detail of that event, which they re- 
late, as ufual, in fymbols or allegories. I concur 
moft heartily with thofe, who infift, that, in pro- 
portion as any faft mentioned in hiftory feems 
repugnant to the courfe of nature, or, in one 
word, miraculous’, the ftronger evidence is re- 
quired to induce a rational belief of it ; but we 
hear withqut incredulity, that cities have been 
overwhelmed by eruptions from burning moun- 
tains, territories laid wafte by hurricanes, and 
whole iflands depopulated by earthquakes: if 
then we look at the firmament fprinkled with 
innumerable ftars ; if we conclude by a fair ana- 
logy, that every ftar is a fun, attracting, like ours, 
a fyftem of inhabited planets j and if our ardent 
fancy, foaring hand in hand with* found reafon, 
waft us beyond the vifible fphere into regions of 
immenfity, difclofing other celeftial expanfes and 
other fyftems of funs' and tyorlds on all fides 


without number or end, we cannot but confidef 
the fubmerfion of our little fpheroi'd as an in- 
finitely lefs event in^refpedt of the immeafure- 
able univerfe, than the deftrudion of a city or 
an ifle in rcfped of this habitable globe. Let a 
general flood, however, be fuppofed improbable 
in proportion to the magnitude of fo ruinous an 
event, yet the concurrent evidences of it are 
completely adequate to the fuppofed impro- 
bability ; but, as we cannot here expatiate on 
thofe proofs, we proceed to the fourth important 
fad recorded in the Mofaick hiftory j I mean 
the firft propagation and early difperfion of man- 
kind in feparate families to feparate places of 

Three fons of the juft and virtuous man, whofe 
lineage was preferved from the general inun- 
dation, travelled, we are told, as they began to 
multiply, in thr^e large divifions varioufly fub- 
divided : the children of Ya'fet feem, from the 
traces of Sklavonian names, and the mention of 
their being enlarged^ to have fpread themfelves 
far and wide, and to have produced the race, 
which, for want of a corred appellation, we call 
Tartarian ; the colonies, formed by the fons of 
Ham and Sh'em, appear^ to have been nearly 
fimultaneous ; and, among thofe of the latter 
branch, we find fo many names inconteftably 
preferved at this hour in Atabia, that we cannot 



hefitate in pronouncing them the fame people, 
whom hitherto we have denominated Arabs i 
while the former branch, the moft powerful and 
adventurous of whom were the progeny of 
Cush, Misr, and Rama (names remaining un- 
changed in Sanfcrit, and highly revered by the 
Hindus ), were, in all probability, the race, which 
I call Indian, and to which we may now give 
any other name, that may feem more proper 
and comprehenfive. 

The general introduction to the ’JewiJb hif- 
tory clofes with a very concife and obfcure ac- 
count of a prefumptuous and mad attempt, by a 
particular colony, to build a fplendid city and 
raife a fabrick of immenfe height, independently 
of the divine aid,' and, it fhould feem, in defiance 
of the divine power j a projeCt, which was baf- 
fled by means appearing at firft view inadequate 
to the purpofe, but ending in violent diffention 
among the projectors, and in the ultimate fepa- 
ration of them : this event alfo feems to be re- 
corded by the ancient Hindus in two of their 
Purdnas j and it will be proved, I truft, on fome 
future occafion, that the lion burjling from a pillar 
to dejlroy a blajpbeming giant, and the divarf 
who beguiled and held in deriJionXhc magnificent 
Beli, are one and the fame ftory related in a 
fymbolical ftyle. 

Now thefe primeval events are defcribed as 

19 $ 


having happened between the Oxus and Eu- 
phrates, the mountains of Caucafus and the bor- 
ders of India, that is, within the limits of Iran', 
for, though moft of the Mafaick names have 
been confiderably altered, yet numbers of them 
remain unchanged : we ftill find Harrdn in Me- 
Jopetamia, and travellers appear unanimous in 
fixing the fite of ancient Babel.- 

Thus, on the preceding fuppofition, that the 
firft eleven chapters of the book, which it is 
thought proper to call Genejis, are merely a pre- 
face to the oldeft civil hiftory now extant, we 
fee the truth of them confirmed by antecedent 
reafoning, and by evidence in part highly pro- 
bable, and in part certain ; but the connexion of 
the Mojaick hiftory with that of the Gofpel by 
a chain of fublime predidlions unqueftionably 
ancient, and apparently fulfilled, muft jnduce us 
to think the Hebrew narrative more than human 
in its origin, and confequently true in every 
fubftantial part of it, though poffibly expreffed 
in figurative language ; as many learned and 
pious men have believed, and as the moft pious 
may believe without injury, and perhaps with 
advantage, tathe caufe of revealed religion. If 
Moses then wis endued with fupernatural know- 
ledge, it is no longer probable only, but ab- 
folutely certain, that the whole race of man pro- 
ceeded from Irdn, as from a centre, whence they 



migrated at firft in three great colonies j and 
that thofe three branches grew from a common 
ftockj which had been miraculoufly preferved in 
a general convulfion and inundation of this 

Having arrived by a different path at the fame 
conclufion with Mr. Bryant as to one of thofe 
families, the mdft ingenious and enterprifing of 
the three, but arrogant, cruel, and idolatrous, 
which we both conclude to be various fhoots 
from the Hamian or Amonian branch, I fhall 
add but little to my former obfervations on his 
profound and agreeable work, which I have 
thrice perufed with increafed attention and plca- 
fure, though not with perfect acquiefcence in 
the other lefs important parts of his plaufible 
fyftem. The fum of his argument _ feems re- 
ducible to three heads. Firft ; “ if the deluge 
really happened at the time recorded by 
Moses, thofe nations, whofe monuments are 
“ preferved or whofe writings are acceflibie, 
“ muft have retained memorials of an event fo 
ftupendous and comparatively fo recent ; but 
“ in fa£t they have retained fuch memorials 
this reafoning feems juft, and the fa^l is true be- 
yond controverfy : Secondly ; “ thofe memorials 
“ were expreffed by the race of Ham, before 
“ the ufe of letters, in rude fculpture or paint- 
“ ing, and moftly in fymbolical figures of the 



** ark, the eight perfons concealed in it, and the 
** birds, which firft were difmifled from it ; this 
" fa&. is probable, but, I think, not fufficiently 
afcertained.” Thirdly ; “ all ancient Mytho- 
“ logy (except what was purely Sahian) had 
“ its primary fource in thofe various fymbols 
mifunderftood ; fo that ancient Mythology 
** Hands now in the place of fymbolical fculptiire 
“ or painting, and muft be explained on the 
“ fame principles, on which we Ihould begin to 
** decypher the originals, if they now exifted 
this part of the fyftem is, in my opinion, carried 
too far j nor can I perfuade myfelf (to give one 
inftance out of many) that the beautiful allegory 
of Cupid and Psyche had the remoteft allufion 
to the deluge, or that Hymen fignified the mV, 
which covered the patriarch and his family. 
Thefe propofitions, however, are fupperted with 
great ingenuity and folid erudition, but, unpro- 
fitably for the argument, and unfortunately, per- 
haps, for the fame of the work itfelf, recourfe is 
had to etymological conjediure, than which no 
mode of reafoning is in general weaker or more 
delufive. He, who profefles to derive the words, 
of any one language from thofe of another, muft 
cxpofc himfelf to the danger of perpetual errours, 
unlefs he be perfectly acquainted with both j yet 
my refpedable friend, though eminently {killed 
inf the idioms of Greece and Rome, has no fort 


of acquaintance with, any ^Jiatick dialed* ex* 
cept Hebrew; and he has confequently made 
miliakes, which every learner of Arabick and 
Verjian mull inftantly dete&. Amon^ fifty ra- 
dical words (ma, tapb, and ram being included), 
eighteen are purely of Arabian origin, tzvelve 
merely Indian, and feventeen both Sanfcrit and 
Arabick, but in.fenfcs totally different; while 
two are Greek only, and one Egyptian, or bar- 
barous : if it be urged, that thofe radicals (which 
ought furely to have concluded, inllead of pre- 
ceding, an analytical inquiry) are precious traces 
of the primitive language, from which all others 
were derived, or to which at leaft they were 
fubfequent, I can only declare my belief, that 
the language of Noah is loft irretrievably, and 
affure you, that after a diligent fearch, I cannot 
find a fingle word ufed in comAori by the Ara-~ 
bian, Indian, and Tartar families, before the in- 
termixture of dialedls occafioned by Mohammedan 
conquefts. There are, indeed, very obvious 
traces of the Hamian language, and fome hun- 
dreds of words might be produced, which were 
formerly ufed promifcuoully by moft nations of 
^hat race ; but I beg leave, as a philologer, to 
enter my proteft againft conjectural etymology 
in hiftorical refearches, and. principally againft 
the licentioufnefs of etymologifts in tranfpofing 
and inferring letters, in fubftituting at pleafure 



any confonant for another of the fame order, and 
in totally difregarding the vowels : for fuch per- 
mutations few radical words would be more con- 
venient than Cus or Cush, fince, dentals being 
changed for dentals, and palatials for palatials, 
it inftantly becomes coot, goofe, and, by tranfpo- 
{ition, duck, all water-birds, and evidently fym-* 
bolical ; it next is the^oa^ worihipped in Egypt, 
and, by a metathefis, the dog adored as an em- 
blem of Sirius, or, more obvioufly, a cat, not 
the domeftick animal, but a fort of fhip, and, 
the Catos, or great fea-fifli, of the Dorians. It 
will hardly be imagined, that I mean by this 
irony to infult an author, whom I refpeft and 
efteem j but no confideration Ihould induce me 
to affift by my filence in the diffulion of errour ; 
and I contend, that almoft any word or nation 
might be derived from any other, if fuch licences, 
as I am oppofing, were permitted in etymolo- 
gical hiftories : when we find, indeed, the fame 
words, letter for letter, and in a /enfe precifely 
Are iame, in different languages, we can fcarce 
hefitate in allowing them a common origin j and, 
not to depart from the example before us, when 
we fee Cush or Cus (for the Sanferit namfr 
alfo is varioufly pronounced) among the fons of 
Brahma', that is, among ihe progenitors of the 
Rnd at the head of an ancient pedigree 
prfffirved in the Rd/ndyan ; when we meet with 


his name again in the family of Ra'ma ; when 
we know, that the name is veneratwi in the 
higheft degree, and given to a facred grafs, dc- 
feribed as a Poa by KofcNiG, which is ufed 
with a thoufand ceremonies in the oblations to 
fire, ordained by Menu to form the facrificial 
zone of the Brahmans^ and folemnly declared in 
the Veda, to have fprung up foon after the de- 
luge, whence the Paurdnicks conlider it as the 
brijlly hair of the boar which Jupported the globe ; 
when we add, that one of the feven dzvipas, or 
great peninfulas of this earth, has the fame ap- 
pellation, we can hardly doubt that the CusK 
of Moses and Va'lmic was the fame perfonage 
and an anceftor of the Indian race. 

From the. teftknonies adduced in the fix laft 
annual difeourfes, and from the additional proofs 
laid before you, or rather opened, on the prefent 
occafion. It feems to follow, that the only human 
family after the flood eftablifhed themfelves in 
the northern parts of Iran ; that, as they mull 
tiplied, they were divided into three diftin£t 
branches, each retaining little at firft, and lofing 
the whole by degrees, of their common primary 
language, but agreeing feverally on new expref- 
fitms for new ideas ; that the branch of Ya'fet 
was enlarged in many feathered fhoots over the 
north of Europe and Ajia, difiUfing themfelves 
as far as the wellern and eafliern feas, and, at 



length in the infancy of navigation, beyond 
them both : that they cultivated no liberal arts, 
and had no ufe of letters, but formed a variety 
of dialefts, as their tribes were varioufly rami- 
fied ; that, fecondly, the children of Ham, who 
founded in Iran itfelf the monarchy of the firft 
Chaldeans^ invented letters, obferved and named 
the luminaries of the firmament, calculated the 
known Indian period oi four hundred and thirty- 
two thoufand years, or an hundred and twenty re- 
petitions of the faros, and contrived the old fyftem 
of Mythology, partly allegorical, and partly 
grounded on idolatrous veneration for their fages 
and lawgivers i that they were difperfed at various 
intervals and in various colonies over land and 
ocean; that the tribes of Misr, Cush^ and Rama 
fettled in Africk and India ; while fome of them, 
having improved the art of failing, palfed from 
Egypt, Vhenice, and Phrygia, into 'Italy and 
Greece, which they found thinly peopled by for- 
mer emigrants, of whom they fupplanted fome 
tribes, and united themfelves with others ; whilft 
a fwarm from the fame hive moved by a north- 
erly courfe into Scandinavia, and another, by 
the head of the Oxus, and through the palTes o| 
Imaiis, into Cafhghar and Eighur, Khatd and 
Kholeti, as far as the territories of Chin and Tan- 
cut, ■vv:bece letters have been ufed and arts im- 
mcaiorially cultivated ; nor is it unreafonable 

AND of nations. 20» 

to believe, that fome of them found their way 
from the eaftern ifles into Mexico and Perw, 
where traces were difcovered of rude literature 
and Mythology analogous to thofe of Egypt and 
India that, thirdly, the old Chaldean empire 
being overthrown by the JJfyrians under Cayu'- 
MERS, other migrations took place, efpecially 
into India, while the reft of Shem’s progeny, 
fome of whom had before fettled on the Red Sea, 
peopled the whole Arabian peninfula, prefling 
clofe on the nations of Syria and Pbenice ; that, 
laftly, from all the three families were detached 
many bold adventurers of an ardent fpirit and 
a roving difpofition, who difdained fubordination 
and wandered in feparate clans, till they fettled 
in diftant ifles or in deferts and mountainous 
regions ; that, on the whole, fome colonies might 
have migrated before the death of their venerable 
progenitor, but that ftates and empires could 
fcarce have aflumed a regular form, till fifteen 
or fixt^n • hundred years before the Chrijiian 
epoch, and that, for the firft thoufand years of 
that period, we have no hiftory unmixed with 
fable, except that of the turbulent and variable^ 
^t eminently diftiriguiflied, nation defcended 
from Abraham. 

My defign, gentlenien, of tracing the origin 
and progrefs of the five principal nations, who 
have peopled AJia, and of whom there were 

VOL. I. 

204 6n th£ origiI^, 

confiderable remains in their feveral countries at 
the time of Muhammed’s hirth, is now ac- 
compliihed ; fuccindily, from the nature of thefe 
eflays ; imperfedly, from the darknefs of the 
fubjedl and fcantinefs of my materials, but clear- 
ly and comprehenfively enough to form a balls 
for fubfequent refearches : yhu have feen, as di- 
ftindlly as I am able to Ihow, who thofe nations 
originally were, whence and when they moved 
toward their final ftations ; and, in my future 
annual difcourfes, I propofe to enlarge on the 
particular advantages to our country and to 
mankind, which may refult from our fedulous 
and united inquiries into the, hiftory, fcienct, 
and arts, of thefe AJiatick regions, efpecially of 
the Britijb dominions in India, which we may 
confider as the centre (not of the human race, 
but) of our common exertions to promote its 
true interefts j and we lhall concur, I truft, in 
opinion, that the race of man, to advance whole 
manly happinefs is our duty and will of courfe 
be our endeavour, cannot long be happy with- 
out virtue, nor actively virtuous without free- 
dom, nor fecurely, free without rational know- 

tHE TfiNtri 






Before oUr entrance, gentlemen, into the 
difquifition, promifed at the clofe of my ninth 
annual difcourfe, on the particular advantages^ 
which may be derived from our concurrent re- 
fcarches in rljia., it feems nccelTijiry. to iix with 
precillon the fenfe, in which we mean to fpeak 
of advantage or utility: now, as \Ve have de- 
fcribed the five AJiatick regions on their largeft 
fcale, and have expanded our conceptions in 
proportion to the magnitude of that Wide field, 
we ftiould ufe thofe words, which comprehend 
the fruit of all our inquiries, in their moft ex- 
■te4five acceptation ; including not only the folid 
tonveniences and comfprts of focial life, but its 
elegances and innocent pleafiires, and even the 
gratification of a natural and laudable curiolity ; 
for, though labour be clearly ihe lot of man in 



this world, yet, in the midft of his moll adive 
exertions, he cannot but feel the fubftantial be- 
nefit of every libesal amufement, which may lull 
his palfions to reft, and afford him a fort of re- 
pole without the pain of total inadion, ^nd the 
real ufefulftefs of every purfuit, wlaich may en- 
large and diverfify his ideas, without interfering 
with the principal objeds of his civil ftation or 
economical duties; nor Ihould we wholly ex- 
clude even the trivial and worldly fenfe of utility, 
which too many confider as merely fynonymous 
with lucre, but lliould reckon among ufeful ob- 
jeds thofe pradical, and by no means illiberal, 
arts, which may eventually conduce both to 
national and to private emolument. With a 
view then to advantages thus explained, let us 
examine every point in the whole circle of arts 
and fciences, according to the received order of 
their dependence on the faculties of the mind, 
their mutual connexion, and the different fub- 
jeds, kwith which they are converfant ; our in- 
quiries indeed, of which Nature and Man are 
the primary objeds, mull of courfe be chiefly 
Hijlorical ; but, fince we propofe to invelligate 
the adtions of the feveral yJjiatick nations, too- 
ther with thdir refpedive progrefs in Jcience and 
art, we may arrange our invelligations under 
thei^me three heads, to which our European 
JMaai^s have iogenioully reduced all t!;e branches 



of human knowledge ; and my prefent addreis 
to the fociety fliall be confined to hiftory, civil 
and natural, or the obfervation and remem- 
brance of mere faSis, independently of ratiocina- 
tion, which belongs to philofophy, or of imita- 
tions and JubJiitutions, which are the province 
of art. 

Were a fuperior created intelligence to deli- 
neate a map of general knowledge (exclufively 
of that fublime and ftupendous theology, which 
himfelf could only hope humbly to know by an 
infinite approximation) he would probably be- 
gin by tracing with Newton the fyftem of 
the univerfe, in which he would aflign the true 
place to our little globe j and, having enumerat- 
ed its various inhabitants, contents, and pro^ 
duftions, would proceed to man in his natural 
ftation among animals, exhibiting a detail of all 
the knowledge attained or attainable by the 
human race; and thus obferving, perhaps, the 
fame order, in which he had before defcribed 
other beings in other inhabited worlds: buti 
though Bacon feems to have had a fimilar rea- 
fon for placing the hiftory of Nature before that 
•«t' Man, or the whole before one of its parts, 
yet, confiftently with our chief objeft already 
mentioned, we may properly begin with the 
civil bijlory of the five AJiatick nations, which 
necelTariiy coinprife« their Geography', pr a d& 


fcription of the places^ where they have adrec], 
and their aftronomy, which mav erable us to 
fix with fome accuracy the time of thtir adions : 
we fhall thence be led to the hifiory of fuch 
other animals, of fuch minerals, and of fuch 
vegetables, as they may be fuppofed to havp 
found in their feveral migrations and fettlements, 
and Ihall end with the ufes to which they have 
.applied? or may apply, the rich aflemblage of 
natural fubftances. 

I. In the firft place, we cannot furely deem 
it ah inconfiderable advantage, that all our hif- 
torical refcarches have confirmed the Mofaick 
accounts of the primitive world j and our tefti- 
mony on that fubjed ought to have the greater 
weight, becaufe, if the refult of our obfervations 
had been totally different, we fliould nevertheleff 
have publifhed them, not indeed .with equal 
pleafure, but with equal confidence ; for. Truth 
is mighty, and, whatever be its confequences, 
mujl always prevail : but, independently of our 
intercft in corroborating the multiplied evidences 
of revealed religion, we could fcarce gratify our 
minds with a more ufeful and rational enter- 
tainment, than the contempiation of thofe woiu;. 
derfpl revolutions in kin^dom^ and ftates, which 
have happened within little more than four 
thousand years ; revolutions, almoft as fully de- 
pBonftxatiye of m ^>ruling Providence, as thq 



ftrufture of the univerfe and the final caufes, 
which are difcernible in its whole extent and 
even in its minuteft partes. Figure to your 
imaginations a moving picture of that eventful 
period, or rather a fucceffion of crouded fcenes 
rapidly changed. Three families migrate in 
difierent courfes from one region, and, in about 
four centuries, eftablifli very diftant governments 
and various modes of fociety : Egyptians, In- 
dians, Goths, Pbenicians, Celts, Greeks, Latians, 
Cbinefe, Peruvians, Mexicans, all fprung from 
the fame immediate ftem, appear to ftart nearly 
at one time, and occupy at length thofe countries, 
to which they have given, or from which they 
have derived, their names : in twelve or thir- 
teen hundred years more the Greeks overrun 
the land of their forefathers, invade India, con-, 
quer Egypt, arid aim at univerfal dominion; 
but the Romans appropriate to themfelves the 
whole empire of Greece, and carry their arms 
into Britain, of which they fpeak with haughty, 
contempt: the Goths, in the fulnefs of time, 
break to pieces the unwieldly Colojfus of Roman 
power, and feize on the whole of Britain, ex- 
.cept its wild mountains; but even thofe wilds 
become fubjedt to other invaders of the lame. 
Gotbick lineage: during all thefe tranfa£tions« 
the Arabs polTefs both coalls of the Red 3ea, 
fiifidue the old fea( of their firft progenitors, and 


extend their conquefts on one fide, through 
Africkt into Europe itfelf ; on another, beyond 
the borders of India^. part of which they annex 
to their flourifliing empire : in the fame interval 
the Tartars^ widely diffufed over the reft of the 
globe, fwarm in the north-eaft, whence they 
rufh to complete the redudlion of Constan- 
tine’s beautiful domains, to fubjugate China, 
to raife in thefe Indian realms a dynafty fplendid 
and powerful, and to ravage, like the two other 
families, the devoted regions of Iran: by this 
time' the Mexicans and Peruvians, with man)r 
races of adventurers varioufly intermixed, have 
peopled the continent and ifles of America, 
which the Spaniards, having reftored their old 
government in Etirope, difcover and in part 
overcome : but a colony from Britain, of which 
Cicero ignorantly declared, that it contained 
nothing valuable, obtain the pofleffion, and finally 
the fovereign dominion, of extenfive American 
diftrifts ; whilft other Britijh fubje£ts acquire a 
fubordinate empire in the fineft provinces of In- 
dia, which the vi<ftorious troops of Alexander 
were unwilling to attack. This outline of hu- 
man tranfaflions, as far as it includes the limits- 
of Afia, we can only hope to fill up, to ftrength- 
cn, and to colour, by the help of AJiatick litera- 
ture} for in hiftory, as in law, we mull not 
fi^low dreams, when we may inveftigate foun» 


t^s nof - admit any fecondary proof, whera 
primary evidence is attainable: I ihuuld, ne- 
verthelefs, make a bad return for yoiM* indulgent 
attention, were I to repeat a dry lift of all the 
Mufelman hiftorian?, whofe works are prefervad 
in Arabickf Pcrjian, and rurkijb^ or expatiate 
on the hiftories and medals oi China axiA yapant 
which may in time be acceftible to members of 
our Society, and from which alone we can ex- 
pert information concerning the ancient ftate of 
the Tartars ; but on the hiftory of India, which 
we naturally confider as the centre of our en- 
quiries, it may not be fuperfiuous to pi6fent you 
with a few particular obfervations. 

Our knowledge of civil AJiatick hiftory (I 
always except that of the Hebrews) exhibits a 
Ihort evening twilight in the venerable intro- 
duction tc\ the firft book of Moses, followed by 
a gloomy night, in which different watches are 
faintly difcernible, and at length we f«e a dawn 
fucceeded by a funrife more or lefs early accord- 
ing to the diverfity of regions. That ao Hindu 
nation, but the Cajhmirians, have left us regular 
hiftories in their ancient language, we muft ever 
lament ; but from Sanfcrit literature, which our 
country has the honour of having unveiled, we 
may ftill colleCt fome rays of hiftorical truth, 
though time and a feries of revolutions have 
obicured that light which we might reafonably 


bave expeded from fo diligent and ingenious 
peopW. The numerous Purdnas and Itibdfas, 
or poems 'mythological and heroick, are com- 
pletely in our power ; and from them we may 
recover fome disfigured, but valuable, pidlures 
of ancient manners and governments ; while the 
popular tales of tbe Hindus, in profe and in verfe, 
contain fragments of hiftory ; and even in their 
dramas we may find as many real charadlers and 
events, as a future age might find in our own 
plays, if all hiftories of England were, like thofe 
of India, to be irrecoverably loft : for example, 
a moft Beautiful poem by So'made'va, com- 
prifing a very long chain of .inftrudfive and 
agreeable glories, begins with the famed revo- 
lution at Pdtaliputra by the murder of King 
Nan DA, with his eight fons, and the ufurpation 
of Chandragupta ; and the fame ^evolution 
is the fubjedt of a tragedy in Sanjcrit, entitled 
the Coronation of Chandra, the abbreviated 
name of that able and adventurous ufurper. 
From thefe, once concealed but now acceffible, 
compofitions, we are enabled to exhibit a more 
accurate Iketch of old Indian hiftory than the 
world has yet. feen, efpeclally with the aid o^ 
well-atteftcd obfervations on the places of the 
colures. It is now clearly proved, that the firft 
Furdna contains an account of the deluge, be- 
tween which and the Mohammedan conquefts 


tHe hiftory of genuine Hindu government muft 
of courfs be comprehended j but we know from 
an arrangement of the feafons in the aftronomical 
work of Para'sara, that the war of the Pa'n- 
DAVAS could not have happened earlier than 
the clofe of the twelfth century before Christ, 
and Seleucus muft, therefore, have reigned 
about nine centuries after that war: now the 
age of Vicrama'ditya is given; and, if we 
can fix on an Indian prince, contemporary with 
Seleucus, we fliall have three given points in 
the line of time between Rama, or the firft 
Indian colony, and Chandrae (j A, the laft 
Hindu monarch, who reigned in Bebdri fo that 
only eight hundred or a thoufand years will re- 
main almoft wholly dark ; and they muft have 
been employed in railing empires or ftates, in 
framing laws, in improving languages and arts, 
and in obferving the apparent motions of the 
celeftial bodies. A Sanfcrit hiftory of the ce- 
lebrated Vicrama'ditya was infpedfed at Ba- 
nares by a Bandit^ who would not have de- 
ceived me, and could not himfelf have been de- 
ceived ; but the owner of the book is dead and 
his family difperfed; nor have my friends in 
that city been able, with all their exertions, to 
procure a copy of it i as to the Mogul conquefts, 
yrith which modern Indian hiftory begins, we 
^ye ample accounts of them in Ferfian, ftom 


Ali of Ttzd and the tranflations of Turkijb 
books compofed even by fomc of the conquerors, 
to Ghula'm Husain, whom many of us per- 
fonally know, and whofe impartiality defcrves 
the higheft applaufe, though his unrewarded 
merit will give no encouragement to other con- 
temporary hiftorians, who, to ufe his own phrafe 
in a letter to myfelf, may, like him, confider plain 
truth as the beauty of hijiorical compojition. From 
all thefe materials, and from thefe alone, a per- 
fect hiftory of India (if a mere compilation, 
however elegant, could deferve fuch a title) 
might be colledted by any ftudious man, who 
had a competent knowledge of Smjcrit^ Perfian^ 
and Arabick ; but, even in the work of a writer 
lb qualified, we could only give abfolute cre- 
dence to the general outline ; for, while the ab- 
ftradt feimees are all truth, and the fine arts all 
fidion, we cannot but own, that, in the detaik 
of bijlory^ truth and fidion are fo blended as to 
be fcarce diftinguilhable. 

The pradical ufe of hiftory, in affording par- 
ticular examples of civil and military wifdom, 
has been greatly exaggerated ; but principles of 
adion may certainly be colleded from it j and 
even the narrative of wars and revolutions may 
ferve as a leflbn to nation^ and an admonition 
to fovefeigns : a defire, indeed, of knowing part 
eveits, while the future cannot be known, and 


a view o£ the prrfent gives often more pain than 
delight, feems natural to the human mind ; and 
a happy propenfity would it be, if every reader 
of hiftory would open his eyes to foipe very 
important corollaries, which flow from the whole 
extent of it. Fie could not but remark the 
conftant effe£t of defpotijhi in benumbing and 
debafing all thole faculties, which diftinguilh 
men from the herd, that grazes ; and to that 
caufe he would impute .the decided inferiority of 
raoft j^fiatick nations, ancient and modern, to 
thofe in Europe^ who are bleft with happier 
governments ; he would fee the Arabs rifing to 
glory, while they adhered to the free maxims 
of their bold anceftors, and finking to mifery 
from the moment, when thofe maxims were 
abandoned. On the other hand he would ob- 
ferve with regret, that fuch republican govern- 
ments as tend to produce virtue and happinefs, 
cannot in their nature be permanent, but are 
generally fucceeded by Oligarchies^ which no 
good man would wilh to be durable. Fie would 
then, like the king of Lydia, remember Solon, 
the wifeft, braveft, and moft accomplilhed of 
men, who alferts, in four nervous lines, that, 
as bail and Jmw, which mar the labours, of 
“ hu{bandmen,^rocedi/ /r<wi elevated clouds, and, 
** as the deftru^ive thunderbolt follows the bril- 
“ liant fiajb, thus is a free Jlate ruined by men 

218 ASlATtCK HlSTORt, 

“ exalted in power and (plendid in wealth, whiU 
the people, from grofs ignorance, chufe rather' 
“ to become the Jlaves of one tyrant, that they 
may efcape from the domination of many, 
** than to preferve themfelves from tyranny of 
** any kind by their union and their virtue*.” 
Since, therefore, no unmixed form of govern- 
ment could both deferve permanence and enjoy 
it, and fince changes even from the worft to 
the beft, are always attended with much tem- 
porary mifchief, he would fix on our Britijb con-* 
ftitution (I mean our puhlick lazu, not-the aftual 
ft ate of things in any given period) as the beft 
form ever eftabliftied, though we can only make 
diftant approaches to its theoretical perfedtion. 
In thefe Indian territories, which' providence 
has thrown into the arms of Britain for their 
protection and welfare, the religion,^ manners, 
and laws of the natives preclude even the idea 
of political freedom; but their hiftories may 
poffibly fuggeft hints for their profperity, while 
our country derives eflential benefit from the 
diligence of a placid and fubmiffive people, who 
multiply with fuch increafe, even after the ra- 
vages of famine, that, in one colleCtorfhip out 
of twenty‘four,'zn6. that by no means the largeft 
or beft cultivated (I mean’ Crtjhna-nagar) there 
have lately been found, by an aCtual enu- 
meration, a million and three hundred thoufand 



native inhabitants ; whence it Ihould that 
in all India there cannot now be fewer than 
thirty millions of black Britijh fubjefts. 

Let us proceed to geography and chronology, 
without which hiftory would be no certain guide, 
but would refemble a kindled vapour without 
either a fettled place or a fteady light. For a 
reafon before intimated I fhall not name the 
various cofmographical books, which are extant 
in Arabick and Perjian, nor give an account of 
thofe, which the T'urks have beautifully printed 
in their own improved language, but fhall ex- 
patiate a little on the geography and aftronomy 
of Indiu'y having firft obferved generally, that all 
the Afiaiick nations muft be far better acquainted 
with their feveral countries than mere European 
fcholars and travellers; that, confequently, we 
muft learn their geography trom their own 
writings ; and that, by collating many copies of 
the fame work, we may correct the blunders of 
tranferibers in tables, names, and d^feriptions. 

Geography, aftronomy, and chronology have, 
in this part of Afia, fhared the fate of authcntick 
hiftory, and, like that, have been fo mafked and 
bedecked in the fantaftick robes of mythology 
and metaphor, that the real fyftem of Indiati 
philofophers and ma'thematicians can fcarce be 
diftinguilhed : an accurate knowledge of San- 
Jin'll and a confidential intercourfe with learned 

81i qilvASIAllCK HISTORY, 

Brdbmem, are the Qnly means of feparatmg truth 
from fable; and we may expe<3; the moil im- 
portant difcoveries from two of our members ; 
concerning whom it may be fafely aiferted, that, 
if our fociety ihould have produced no other 
advantage than the invitation given to them for 
the publick difplay of their talents, we Ihould 
have a claim to the thanks of pur country and 
of all Europe. Lieutenant Wilford has ex- 
hibited an intereiling fpecimen of the geo- 
graphical knowledge deducible from the Fu~ 
rdnaSf and will in time prefent you with fo 
complete a treatife on the ancient world known 
to the Hindus^ that the light acquired by the 
Greeks will appear but a glimmering in com- 
parifon of that, which He will diffufe; while 
Mr. Davis, who has given us a. diftimfl idea 
of Indian computations and cycles, and afcertain- 
ed the place of the colures at a time of great 
importance in hillory, will hereafter difclofe 
the fyllema of Hindii aftronomers from Naked 
and Para'sar toMEVA, Vara'hamihir, and 
Bha SCAR, and will foon, I truft, lay before you 
a perfefl delineation of all the Indian afterifm^ 
in both hemifpheres, where you will perceive 
fo Arong a general refembhince to the conAeW 
latioos q{ the Greeks^ as ‘to prove that the two 
were originally one and the fame, yet 
a diverAty in parts, as to ihow incea- 


teftably, that neither fyftem was copied from the 
other ; whence it will follow, that they rnuji have 
had fome common fource. 

The jurifprtidence of the Hindus and Arabs 
being the field, which I have chofen for my 
peculiar toil, you cannot exped, that t Ihould 
greatly enlarge your collection of hiftorical 
knowledge ; but I may be able to offer you 
fome occafional tribute, and I cannot help men- 
tioning a difcovery, which accident threw in my 
way; though my proofs muft be referved for 
an elfay, which I have deftined for the fourth 
volume of your TranfaCtions. To fix the fitua- 
tion of that Palibotbra (for there may have been 
feveral of the name)i which was vifited and de- 
feribed by Megasthenes had always appeared 
a very difficult problem ; for, though it could 
not have been Praydga, where* no ancient me- 
tropolis evCr flood, nor Cdnyacubja, which has 
no epithet at all refembling the word ufed by 
the Greeks, nor Gaur, otherwife called haejb- 
manavaii, which all know to be a town com- 
paratively modern, yet we could not confidently 
decide that it was Paialiputra, though names 
and mod circumflances yearly correfpond, be- 
caufe that renowned capital extended from the 
confluence of the Sone and the Ganges to the 
feite of Patna, while Palibotbra flood at the 
jundion of the Ganges and EraftHoboas^ which 

VOL. I. R 



the accurate M. D’Anvillk had pronounced to 
be the Tamuna : but this only difficulty was re- 
moved, when I found in a claffical Sanfcrit 
book, near two thotifand years old, that Hira- 
nyabdbu^ or golden-armed y which the Greeks 
changed into Erannohoas, or the river with a 
lovely murmir, was in fait another name for the 
Som itfelf, though Megasthenes, from igno- 
rance or inattention, has named them feparately. 
This difcovery led to another of greater moment j 
for Chandragupta, who, from a military 
adventurer, became, like Sandracottus, the 
fovereign of upper Hindujldn, actually fixed the 
feat of his empire at Patalipntra, where he re- 
ceived ambafladors from foreign princes, and 
was no other than that very Sanpracottws, 
who concluded a treaty with Seleucus Ni- 
CATOR j fo that we have folved another problem, 
to which we before alluded, and may in round 
numbers confiderthe twelve and three hundredth 
years before Christ as two certain epochs be- 
tween Rama, who conquered Sildn a few cen- 
turies after the flood, and Vicrama'ditya, 
who died at Ujjayint fifty-feven years before the 
beginning of our era. 

II. Since thefe difeuffions would lead us too 
far, I proceed to the hiftory of Nature diftin- 
gttiihed, for our prefent purpofe, from that of 
Man ; and divided into that of other animals. 


who inhabit this globe, of the mineral fubftances, 
which it contains, and of the vegetables^ which 
fo luxuriantly and fo beautifully adorn it. 

I . Could the figure, inftmdis, and qualities of 
birds, beafts, infe£ls, reptiles, and fifti be afcer- 
tained, either on the plan of Buffon, or on that 
of Linnjeus, without giving pain to the objcdts 
of our examination, few ftudies would afford us 
more folid inftrudlion or more exquifite delight ; 
but I never could learn by what right, nor con- 
ceive with what feelings, a naturalift can oc- 
cafion the mifery of an innocent bird and leave 
its young, perhaps, to perifh in a cold neft, be- 
caufe it has gay, plumage and has never been 
accurately delineated, or deprive even a butterfly 
of its natural enjoyments, becaufe it has the mis- 
fortune to be rare or beautiful j nor (hall I ever 
forget the couplet of Firdausi, for which Sadi, 
who cites it with applaufe, pours bleflings on 
his departed fpiiit : ‘ 

Ah! spare yon emmet, rich in hoarded grain: 

He lives with pleasure, and he dies with pain. 

This may be only a confelfion of weaknefs, and 
it certainly is not meant as a boafl of peculiar 
fenfibility j but, whatever name may be given to 
my opinion, it has fuch an effedt on my con- 
duct, that 1 never would fuffer the Cdcila^ whofe 
wild native woodmtes announce the approach of 

R 2 • ■ 



fpring, to be caught in my garden for the fake 
of cc^mparing it with Buffon’s defcription } 
though I have often examined the domeftick and 
engaging Mayaiih^ which bids us good morrow at 
our windows^ and expedls, as its reward, little 
more than fecurity : even when a fine young 
Manis or Pangolin was brought me, againft my 
wilh, from the mountains, 1 folicited his reftora- 
tion to his beloved rocks, becaufe I found it 
Impoflible to preferve him in comfort at a dif- 
tance from them. There are feveral treatifes on 
aninials in Arabich^ and very particular accounts 
of them in Cbinefe with elegant outlines of their 
external appearance ; but I have met with no- 
thing valuable concerning them in Perfian, ex- 
cept what may be gleaned from the medical dic- 
tionaries } nor have 1 yet feen a book in San- 
ferit, that e’xpJefsly treats of them : on the 
whole, though rare animals may be found in all 
Afia^ yet I can only recommend an examination 
of them with this condition, that they be left, 
as much as pofilble, in a ftate of natural freedom, 
or made as happy as polllble, if it be necefiary 
to keep them confined. 

, a. Thq hiftory of minerals, to which no fuch 
obje^Hon can be made, is extremely fimple and 
eafy» if we merely confrder their exterior look 
stnd configuration, and their vifible texture ; but 
the wxalyfiis of their internal properties belongs 



particularly to the fublime refearches of C4hy- 
millry, on which we may hope to find ufeful dif- 
quifitions in Sanferit^ fince the old Hindus un- 
queftionably applied thcmfelves to that enchant- 
ing ftudy ; and even from their treatifes on al- 
chymy we may poflibly collect the refults of 
admal experiment, as their ancient aftrological 
works have preferved many valuable fadts re- 
lating to the Indian fphere and the preceffion of 
the equinox : both in Perjian and Sanferit there 
are books on metals and minerals, particularly 
on gems^ which the Hindu philofophers confi- 
dered (with an exception of the diamond) as 
varieties of one cryftalline fubftance cither fimple 
or compound : but we muft not expedl from the 
chymifts of jdfia thofe beautiful examples of 
analyfis which have but lately been difplayed in 
the laboratories of Europe. 

3. We now come to Botany, the lovelieft and 
moft copious divifion in the hiftor)'- of nature ; 
and, all difputes on the comparative merit of 
fyftems being at length, I hope, condemned to 
one perpetual night of undijiurbed Jlumber, we 
cannot employ our leifure more delightfully, 
than in deferibing all new Jljiatick plants in the 
Linnaan ftyle and method, or in’corredling the 
deferiptions of thofe already known, but of 
which dry fpecimens only, or drawings, can have 
beea feen by moft European botanlfts ; in this 


part of natural hiftory we have an ample field yet 
unexplored ; for, though many plants of Arabia 
have been made known by Garcias, Pros- 
per Alpinus, and Forskoel, of Perfia, by 
Garcin, of Tartary^ by Gmelin and Pallas, 
of China and Japan, by Kcempfer, Osbeck, 
and Thunberg, of India, by Rheede and 
Rumphius, the two Burmans, and the much- 
lamented Koenig, yet none of thofe naturalifts 
were deeply verfed in the literature of the feve- 
ral countries, from which their vegetable trea- 
fures had been procured; and the numerous 
works in Sanfcrit on medical fubftances, and 
chiefly on plants, have never been infpeded, or 
never at Icaft underftood, by any European at- 
tached to the ftudy of nature. Until the garden 
of the India Company fhall be fully ftored (as it 
will be, no doubt, in due time) with Arabian, 
Perjian, and Cbinefe plants, we may well be fa- 
tisficd with examining the native flowers of our 
own provinces ; but, unlefs we can difcover the 
Sanfcrit names of all celebrated vegetables, we 
fhall neither comprehend the allufions, which 
Indian poets perpetually make to them, nor 
(what is fiir worfe) be able to find accounts of 
their tried virtues in the writings of Indian phy- 
ficians; and (what is worfl of all) we fhall mils 
an opportunity, which never again may prefent 
itfelf} for the Pandits themfelves have almoft 



wholly forgotten their ancient appellations of 
particular plants, and, with all my pains, I have 
not yet afcertained more than hvo hundred out 
of twice that number, which are named in their 
medical of poetical compofitions. It is much to 
be deplored, that the illuftrious Van Rheede 
had no acquaintance with Sunfcrit, which even 
his three Brahmens, who compofed the fhort 
preface engraved in that language, appear to 
have underftood very imperfedly, and certainly 
wrote with difgraceful inaccuracy : in all his 
twelve volumes I recoiled only Punarnava, in 
which the Ndgari letters are tolerably right ; 
the Hindu wofds in Arabian charaders are 
fliamefully incorred; and the Malabar, I am 
credibly informed, is as bad as the reft. His 
delinealicns, indeed, are in general excellent; 
and, though Linnjeus himfelt could not ex- 
trad from his written defcriptions the natural 
charader of every plant in the colledion, yet we 
{hall be able, I hope, to defcribe them all from 
the life, and to add a confiderablc number of new 
fpecies, if not of tiQvr getiera, which Rheede, 
with all his noble exertions, could never procure. 
Such of our learned members, as profefs me,* 
dicine, will, no doubt, cheerfully aflift in thefe 
refearches, either by’ their own obfervations, 
when they have leifure to make any, or by com- 
munications Irom other obfervers among their 


acquaintance, who may refide in different parts of 
the country: and the mention of their art leads me 
to the various ufes of natural fubftances, in the 
three kingdoms or claffes to which they arc 
generally reduced. 

III. You cannot but have remarked, that al- 
moft all the fciences^ as the French call them, 
which are diftinguifhed by Greek names and ar- 
ranged under the head of philofophy, belong 
for the moft part to hiftory ; fuch are philology, 
chymiftry, phyficks, anatomy, and even meta- 
phyficks, when we barely relate the phenomena 
of the human mind; for, in all branches of 
knowledge, we are only hiftorians, when we 
announce fa£ts, and philofophers, only when 
we reafon on them : the fame may be con- 
fidently faid of law and of medicine, the firft 
of which belongs principally to civ^, and the 
fecond chiefly to natural, hiftory. Here, thercr 
fore, I fpeak of medicine, as far only as it is ground- 
ed on experiment ; and, without believing im- 
plicitly what Arabs, Ferjians, Cbinefe, or Hindus 
may have written on the virtues of medicinal 
fubftances, we may, furely, hope to find in their 
writings what our own experiments may con- 
firm or difproVe, and what might never have 
occurred to us without fuch intimations. 

Eurc^eans enumerate more than two hundred 
cuid jifty mechanical arts, by which the pror 



dudlions of nature may be varioufly prepared 
for the convenience and ornament of life ; and, 
though the Silpafaflra reduce them to fixty-four^ 
yet Abu’lfazl had been aflured, that the Hin- 
dus reckoned three hundred arts and fciences: 
now, their fciences being comparatively few, we 
may conclude, that they anciently praftifed at 
leaft as many ufeful arts as ourfelves. Several 
Pandits have informed me, that the treatiles on 
art, which they call Upavedas and believe to have 
been infpired, are not fo entirely loft, but that 
confiderable fragments of them may be found at 
Banares ; and they certainly poflefs many po- 
pular, but ancient, works on that interefting fub- 
je£t. The manufactures of fugar and indigo 
have been well known in thefe provinces fc^ 
more than two thoufand years ; and we cannot 
entertain a doubt, that their Sanjcrit books on 
dying and metallurgy contain very curious fads, 
which might, indeed, be difcovered by accident 
in a long courfe- of years, but which we may 
foon bring to light, by the help of Indiati lite- 
rature, for the benefit of manufadurers and artifts, 
and confequently of our nation, who are in- 
terefted in their profperity. Difeoveries of the 
fame kind might be colleded from the writings 
of other AJiatick nations, efpecially of the Cbi- 
nefe ; but, though Perfian, Arabick, Turkijb 
and Sanferit are languages now fo accei3ible,that, 


in order to obtain a fufficient knowledge of 
them, little more feems required than a ftrong 
inclination to learn them, yet the fuppofed 
number and intricacy of the Cbinefe characters 
have deterred our moft diligent ftudents from 
attempting to find their way through fo vaft a 
labyrinth : it is certain, however, that the dif- 
ficulty has been magnified beyond the truth; 
for the perfpicuous grammar by M. Fourmont, 
together with a copious .dictionary, which I pof- 
fefs, in Cbinefe and Latin, would enable any 
man, who pleafed, to compare the original works 
of Confucius, which are eafily procured, with 
the literal tranflation of them by Couplet; 
and, having made that firll ftep with attention, 
he would probably find, that he had traverfed at 
lead half of his career. But I ihould be led be- 
yond the limits afiigned to me on this occafion, 
if I were to expatiate farther on the hiftorical 
divifion of the knowledge comprifed in the li- 
terature of Jtfia ; and I muft poftpone till next 
year my remarks on JJiatick philofophy and on 
thofe arts, which depend on imagination ; pro- 
mifing you with confidence, that, in the courfe 
of the prefent year, your inquiries into the civil 
and natural hijiory of this eaftern world will 
be greatly promoted by 'the learned labours of 
tnany among our aflbeiates and correfpondents. 







Had it been of any importance, gentlemen, 
to arrange thefe.anniverfary diflertations accord- 
ing to the ordinary progrefs of the human mind, 
in the gradual expanfion of its three moft con- 
fiderable powers, memory^ imagination^ and reafon^ 
I Ihould certainly have prefented you with aa 
eflay on the liberal arts of the five AJiatick na- 
tions, before I produced ray remarks on their 
ahJiraSt fciences' becaufe, from my ownobfenr- 
ation at leaft, it feems evident, that fancy, or 
the faculty of combining our ideas agreeably by 
various modes of imitation and fubftitution, is in 
general earlier exercifed, and fooner attains ma- 
turity, than the power of feparating and com- 
paring thofe ideas by\he lahorious exerdons of 
intellect ; and hence, I believe, it has happened, 
that all nations in the world had poets beforo 



they h»d mere philofophers : but, as M. D’Alem- 
bert has deliberately placed fcience before art, 
as the queftion of precedence is, on this occafion, 
of no moment whatever, and as many new 
fadbs on the fubjeft of Jfiatick philofophy are 
frefh in my remembrance, I propofe to addrefs 
you now on the fciences of Afia, referving for 
our next annual meeting a difquifition concern- 
ing thofe fine arts, which have immemorially 
been cultivated, with difierent fuccefs and in very 
different modes, within the circle of our com- 
mon inquiries. 

By fcience I mean an aflemblage of tran- 
fcendental propofitions difcoverable by human 
reafon, and reducible to firft principles, axioms, 
or maxims, from which they may all be derived 
in a regular fucceffion; and there are confequently 
as many fciences as there are generaji objeds of 
our intelledlual powers : when man firft exerts 
thofe powers, his obje£ts are himfelf and the 
reft of nature } himfelf he perceives to be com- 
pofed of body and m/nrf, and in his individual 
capacity, he reafons on the ufes of his animal 
frame and of its parts both exteriour and internal, 
on the diforders impeding the regular funflions 
of thofe parts, and on the moft probable methods 
of preventing thofe diforders or of removing 
them ; he foon feels the clofe connexion between 
his corporeal and mental faculties, and when 


23 L 

his mind is refledled on itfelf, he difcourfes on 
its ejfence and its operations', in his focial cha- 
ra(^er, he analyzes his various duties and rights 
both private and publick; 'and in the leifure, 
which the fulleft difcharge of thofe duties always 
admits, his intelledl is diredled to nature at large, 
to the fuhjiance of natural bodies, to their feveral 
properties, and to their quantity both feparate 
and united, finite and infinite ; from all which 
objects he deduces notions, either purely abflra£t 
and univerfal, or mixed with undoubted fa<ffs, 
he argues from phenomena to theorems, from 
thofe theorems to other phenomena, from caufes 
to effeds, from effe£ls to caufes, and thus ar- 
rives at the demonftration of a jirji intelligent 
caufe j whence his colledbed wifdom, being ar- 
ranged in the form of fcience, chiefly confifts of 
pljyjiology and medicine, metapbjjicks and logick, 
ethicks zxidi jurijprudence, natural philofophy and 
matbematicks j from which the religion of nature 
(fince revealed religion muft be referred to bif^ 
tory, as alone affording evidence of it) has in all 
ages and in all nations been the fublime and con- 
foling refult. Without profeffing to have given 
a* logical definition of fcience, or to have exhi- 
bited . a perfedf enumeration of. its objects, I 
lhall confine myfelf to thofe five divifions of 
Jfiatick philofophy, enlarging for the moft part 
on the progrefs which the Hindus have made in 


them, and occafionally introducing the fciences 
of the Arabs and FeijianSy the Tartars, and the 
Cbinefe j but, how extenfive foever may be the 
range which I have chofen, I fhall beware of 
exhaufting your patience with tedious difcuilions, 
and of exceeding thofe limits, which the occa- 
fion of our prefent meeting has neceflarily pre- 

I. The firft article affords little fcopej fince 
I have no evidence, that, in any language of 
AJia, there exifts one original treatife on medi- 
cine confidered as a fcience: phyfick, indeed, 
appears in thefe regions to have been from time 
immemorial, as we fee it pradlifed at this day 
by Hindus and Mufehndns, a mere empirical 
bijlory of difeafes and remedies ; ufeful, I ad- 
mit, in a high degree, and worthy of attentive 
examination, but wholly foreign to the fubjedi 
before us : though the Arabs, however, have 
chiefly followed the Greeks in this branch of 
knowledge, and have themfelves been implicitly 
followed by other Mohammedan writers, yet 
(not to mention the Cbinefe, of whofe medical 
works I can at prefent fay nothing with con- 
fidence) we ftill have accefs to a number of 
Sanferit book$ on the old Indian pradfice of 
phyfick, from which, if the Hindus had a theo- 
retical fyftem, we might eafily collet it. The 
Ayurveda, fuppofed to be the work of a celeftial 



phyfician, is aJmoft entirely loll, unfortunately 
perhaps for the curious European, but happily 
for the patient Hindu ; lince a revealed fcience 
precludes improvement from experience, to 
which that of medicine ought, above all others, 
to be left perpetually open j but I have 'myfelf 
met with curious fragments of that primeval 
work, and, in the Veda itfelf, I found with 
aftonilhment an entire Upanijhad on the internal 
parts of the human body ; with an enumeration 
of nerves, veins, and arteries, a defeription of 
the heart, fpleen, and liver, and various difqui- 
fitions on the formation and growth of the fetus : 
from the laws, indeed, of Menu, which have 
lately appeared ih our own language, we may 
perceive, that the .ancient Hindus were fond of 
reafoning in their way on the myfteries of ani- 
mal generation, and on the comparative Influence 
of the fexes in the produftion of perfed olT- 
fpring ; and we may collefl: from the authori- 
ties adduced in the learned Eflay on Egypt and 
the Nile, that their phyfiological difputes led to 
violent fchifms in religion, and even to bloody 
wars. On the whole, we cannot expeA to ac- 
quire many valuable truths from an examination 

of eaflem books on the fcience of medicine : but 

• ^ 

examine them we muftt if we wilh to complete 
the hiflory of univerfal philofophy, and to fup- 



ply the fcholars of Europe with authentick ma- 
terials for an account of the opinions anciently 
formed on this head by the philofophers of 
to know, indeed, with certainty, that fo much 
and no more can be known on any branch of 
fciencei would in itl'elf be very important and 
lifeful knowledge, if it had no other effedi than 
to check the boundlefs curiofity of mankind, and 
to fix them in the ftraight path of attainable 
fcience, efpecially of fuch as relates to their 
duties and may conduce to their happinefs. 

IL W E have an ample field in the next di- 
vifion, and a field almoft wholly new ; fince 
the mytaphyficks and logick of the Brdbmens, 
comprifed in their fix philofophical Sdjiras^ and 
explained by numerous gloffes or comments, 
have never yet been acceflible to Europeans j 
and, by the helpiof the Sanferit language, we now 
may read the works of the Saugatas', BauddbaSf 
A'rbataSf yainas, and other heterodox philofo- 
phers, whence we may gather the metaphyfical 
tenets prevalent in China and Japan, in the 
eaftern peninfula of India, and in many con- 
fidcrable nation# of Tartary : there are alfo fome 
valuable traftt on thefe branches of fcience in 
Pe^atPitdid Arahick, partly copied from the 
GreepK{/iaid partly comprifing the do6trittes of 
the ^ufis which anciently prevailed, and ftill 



prevail in great meafure over this oriental world, 
and which the Greeks themfelves condefcended 
to borrow from eaftern fages. 

The little treatife in four chapters, afcribcd 
to Vydfa, is the only philofophical Sdjtra^ the 
original text of which I have had leifure to pe- 
rufe with a Brdhmen of the Feddnti fchool : it 
is extremely obfcure, and, though compofed in 
fentcnces elegantly modulated, has more refem- 
blance to a table of contents, or an accurate 
fummary, than to a regular fyftematical ira£t ; 
but all its obfcurity has been cleared by the 
labour of the very judicious and moft learned 
S ANGARA, whofe commentary on the Feddnia, 
which I read alfo with great attention, not only 
elucidates every word of the text, but exhibits 
a perfpicuous account of all other Indian fchools, 
from that of Capiga to thofe of the ’more mo- 
dern hereticks. It is not poflible, indeed, to 
fpeak with too much applaufe of fo excellent a 
work i and I am confident in alTerting, that, 
until an accurate tranflation of it fliall appear in 
fome European language, the general hiftory of 
philofophy mull remain incomplete ; for I per- 
ffedlly agree with thofe, who are of opinion, 
that one corredl verfion of any celebrated Hindu 
book would be of greater . value than all the 
dilTertations or efifays, that could be compofed 
on the lame fubje(2 i you will not, however, exi* 

VOL. I, 5 



pe£t, that, in fuch a difcourfe as I am now de- 
livering, I fhould expatiate on the diverfity of 
Indian philofophical fchools, on the feveral 
founders of them, on the doftrines, which they 
fefpedtively taught, or on their many difciples, 
who diflented from their inftrudlors in fome 
particular points. On the prefent occafion, it 
will be fufficient to fay, that the oldeft head of 
a fe£t, whofe entire work is preferved, was (ac- 
cording to fome authors) Capila ; not the 
divine perfonage, a reputed grandfon of Brah- 
ma', to whom Cri'shna compares himfelf in 
the Gita, but a fage of his name, who invented 
the Satic'hya, or Numeral, philofophy, which 
Cri'shna himfelf appears to impugn in his 
converfation w'ith Arjuna, and w'hich, as far 
as I can recolleft it from a few original texts, 
refembled in part the metaphyficks of Pytha- 
goras, and in part the theology of Zeno: his 
doctrines were enforced and illuftrated, with 
fome additions, by the venerable Patanjali, 
who has alfo left us a fine comment on the 
grammatical rules of Pa'nini, which are more 
obfeure, without a glofs, than the darkeft oracle; 
and here by the way let me add, that I refer to 
metaphyficks the curious and important fciencc 
of imiverfal grammar, on ‘Vvhich many fubtil dif- 
quifitions may be found interfperfed in the par- 
ticular grammars of the ancient Hindus, and in 



thofe of the more modem Arabs. The next 
founder, I believe, of a philofophical fchool was 
Go'tama, if, indeed, he .was not the moft an- 
cient of all ; for his wife Ahaly'a was, accord- 
ing to Indian legends, teftored to a hunian fhape 
by the great Ra'ma ; and a fage of his name, 
whom we have no reafon to fuppofe a different 
perfonage, is frequently mentioned in the Veda 
itfelf; to his rational dodirines thole of Ca- 
nada were in general conformable; and the phi- 
lofophy of them both is ufually called Nynya, 
or logical^ a title aptly bellowed ; for it feems to 
be a fyftem of metaphyficks and logick better 
accommodated than any other anciently known 
in IndiUy to the natural reafon and common 
fenfe of mankind ; admitting the actual exiftence 
of material fubjlance in the poi\ular acceptation 
of the word matter, and compriling not only a 
body of fublime dialedlicks, but an artificial 
method of reafoning, with diftindl names for 
the three parts of a propofition, and even for 
thofe of a regular fyllogifm. Here I cannot 
refrain from introducing a fingular tradition, 
which prevailed, according to the well-informed 
author of the Dabijldn, in the Punjab and in 
feveral Ptrryiaw provinces, that, “ among other In- 
** dian curiofities, which Callisthenes tranf- 
“ mitted to his uncle, was a techniral JyJl<.m of 
logick, which the Brdbmens had communicated 


“ to the inquifitive Greek,*’ and which the Mo- 
hammedan writer fuppofes to have been the 
groundwork of the famous Arijtotelean method : 
if this be true, it is one of the moll interefting 
fa£ts, that I have met with in Afia ; and if it be 
falfe, it is very extraordinary, that fuch a ftory 
ihould have been fabricated either by the can- 
did MdHSANi Fatii; or by the fimple Parsis 
Pandits, with whom he had converfed; but, 
not having had leifure to ftudy the NyJya Sdf- 
tra, I can only alTure you, that I have frequently 
feen perfed fyllogifms in the philofophical 
writings of the Brahmens, and have often heard 
them ufed in their verbal controverlies. What- 
ever might have been the merit or age of Go'- 
TAMA, yet the moft celebrated Indian fchool is 
that, with whicji 1 began, founded by Vya'sa, 
and fupported in moft refpefts by his pupil Jai- 
MiNi, whofe diflent on a few points is mention- 
ed by his mafter with refpe6fful moderation ; 
their feveral fyftems are frequently diftinguilhed 
by the names of the firft and fecond Mimdnjd, 
a word, which, like Nyaya, denotes the opera- 
tions and conclufions of reafon ; but the tra£t of 
Vya'sa has in general the appellation of F eddnta, 
or the fcope and end of the Veda, on the texts 
of which, as they were underftood by the phi- 
lofopher, who collected them, his dodtrines arc 
principally grounded. The fundamental tenet 



of the Vedunti fchool, to which in a more mo- 
dern age the incomparable Sancara was a 
firm and illuftrious adherent, confifted, not in 
denying the exiftence of matter, that is, of foli- 
dity, impenetrability, and extended figure (to 
deny which would be lunacy), but, in correct- 
ing the popular notion of it, and in contending, 
that it has no elTence independent of mental 
perception, that exiftence and perceptibility are 
convertible terms, that external appearances and 
fenfations are illufory, and would vanifti into 
nothing, if the divine energy, which alone fuf- 
tains them, were fufpended but for a moment ; 
an opinion, which Epicharmus and Plato 
feem to have adopted, and which has been main- 
tained in the prcTent century with great elegance, 
but with little publick applaufe ; partly becaufe 
it has been mifunderftood, and partly becaufe 
it has been mifapplied by the falfe reafoning of 
fome unpopular writers, who are laid to have 
difbelieved in the moral attributes of Gon, 
whofe omniprefence, wifdom, and goodnefs are 
the bafis of the Indian philofophy : I have not 
fufficient evidence on the fubjeCt to profefs a 
belief in the dodrine of the Vedanta, which 
human reafon alone could, perhaps, neither fully 
demonftrate, nor fully difprove j but it is ma- 
nifeft, that nothing can be farther removed from 
impiety than a fyftem wholly built on the pureft 


devotion ; and the inexpreflible difficulty, which 
any man, who fhall make the attempt, will af- 
furedly find in giving a fatisfadory definition 
of material fubjlan<;e', muft induce us to delibe- 
rate with coolnefs, before we cenfure the learned 
and pious reftorer of the ancient Veda ; though 
we cannot but admit, that, if the common opi- 
nions of mankind be the criterion of philofophical 
truth, we muft adhere to the fyftem of Go'ta- 
MA, which the Brahmens- of this province almoft 
univerfally follow. 

If the metaphyficks of the Veddntis be wild 
and erroneous, the pupils of Buddha have run, 
it is afferted, into an error diametrically oppo- 
fite; for they are charged with denying the 
exiftcnce of pure fpirit, and with believing no- 
thing abfolutely and really to exift but material 
JubJlance ; a heavy accufation which opght only 
to have been made on pofitive and inconteftable 
proof, efpecially by the orthodox Brahmens, 
who, as Buddha diffented from their anceftors 
in regard to bloody facrijices, which the Veda 
certainly preferibes, may not unjuftly be fufped- 
ed of low and interefted malignity. Though I 
cannot credit the charge, yet I am unable to 
prove it entirely falfe, having only read a few 
pages of a Saugata book, which Captain Kirk- 
patrick had lately the kindnefs to give mej 
fiut it begins, like other fiiVidbooks, with the 



word OVw, which we know to be a fyinboj of 
the divine attributes; then follows, indeed, a 
myftcrious hymn to the Goddefs of Nature, by 
the name of A'ryu, but with feveral other titles, 
which the Brahmens themfelves continually be- 
llow on their Devi; now the Brahmens, who 
have no idea, that any fuch perfonage exifts as 
D' vi', or the Goddefs, and only mean to exprefs 
allegorically the power oi Goo, exerted in creat- 
ing, preferving and renovating this univerfe, we 
cannot with jufticc infer, that the diffenters ad- 
mit no deity but vijible nature: the Pandit, 
who now attends me, and who told Mr. Wil- 
kins, that the Sau galas were athcills, would 
not have attempted to refill the decifive evidence 
of the contrary, ’which appears in the very in- 
llrument, on which he was confulted, if his un- 
derllanding had not been blinded- by' the into- 
lerant zeal of a mercenary priellhood. A literal 
verfion of the book juft mentioned (if any ftudi- 
ous man had learning and induftry equal to the 
talk) would be an ineftimable treafure to the 
compiler of fuch a hiftory as that of the labo- 
rious Brucker ; but let us proceed to the 
rfiorals and jurijprudence of the Afaticks, on 
which I could expatiate, if the occafion admitted 
a full difcullion of the^fubjeft, with corredlnels 
and confidence. 

IJI. That both ethicks and abftrad law 



might be reduced to the method of fcience^ can- 
not furely be doubted ; but, although fuch a 
method would be of infinite ufe in a fyftem of 
univerfal, or even of national, jurifprudence, 
yet the principles of morality are fo few, fo lu- 
minous, and fo ready to prefent themfelves on 
every occafion, that the pradical utility of a 
fcientifical arrangement, in a treatife on ethicks, 
may very juftly be queftioned. The moralifts 
of the eafl; have in general ehofen to deliver 
their precepts in fhort fententious maxims, to 
illuftrate them by fprightly comparifons, or to 
inculcate them in the very ancient form of 
agreeable apologues : there are,, indeed, both in 
Arabick and Perjian^ philofophical trads on 
ethicks written with found ratiocination and 
elegant perfpicuity; but in every part of this 
eaftern world, 'from Pekin to DamaJeuSy the 
popular teachers of moral wifdom have imme- 
morially been poets, and there would be no end 
of enumerating their works, which are Hill ex- 
tant in the five principal languages of AJia, 
Our divine religion, the truth of which (if any 
hiftory be true) is abundantly proved by hifto- 
rical evidence, has no need of fuch aids, as many 
are willing to give it, by aflerting, that the wifeft 
men of this world- werd ignorant of the two 
great maxims that we mujl adl in rejpedl of others, 
as we Jhould ivijh them to adl in refpedt of mir^ 


/elves, and that, injlead of returning evil for evil, 
we JJjould confer benefits even on tbofe who injure 
us ; but the firft rule is implied in a fpeech of 
Lysias, and exprefled in diftinft phrafes by 
Thales and Pittacus; and I have even 
feen it word for word in the original of Con- 
fucius, which I carefully compared with the 
Latin tranflation. It has been ufual with zealous 
men, to ridicule and abufe all thofe, who dare 
on this point to quote .the Chinefe philofopher ; 
but, inftead of fupporting their caufe, they would 
ftiake it, if it could be ftiaken, by their uncandid 
afperity j for they ought to remember, that one 
great end of revelation, as it is moft exprefsly 
declared, was not to inftruft the wife and few, 
but the many arid unenlightened. If the con- 
verfation, therefore, of the Vandits and Maulavis 
in this country fhall ever be ahempted by pro- 
teftant miflionaries, they muft beware of aflert- 
ing, while they teach the gofpel of truth, what 
thofe Pandits and Maulavis would know to be 
falfe : the former would cite the beautiful Aryd 
couplet, which was written at lead three centuries 
before our era, and which pronounces the duty 
of a good man, even in the moment of his de- 
ftrudtion, to confift not only in forgiving, but even 
in a define of benefiting, bis defiroyer, as the 
Sandal-iree, in the infiant of its overthrow, Jbeds 
perfume on the axe, xvbicb fells it j and the latter 



would triumph in repeating the verfe of Sadi*, 
who reprefents a return of good for good as a 
flight reciprocity, but fays to the virtuous man, 
“ Corfer benefits on him who has injured iheef 
ufmg an Arahick fcatence, and a maxim appa- 
rently of the ancient Arabs. Nor would the 
Mufelmans fail to recite four diftichs of H a fiz, 
who lias illuftrated that maxim with fanciful but 
elegant allufions •, 

Learn from yon orient fhell to love thy foe, 

Anci il-ore with pearls the hand, tliat brings thee wo : 

FreCj like yon rock, from bafe vindiftive pride, 

Imblaze with gems the wrlft, that rends thy fide : 

Mark, where yon tree rewards the ftony (howV 
With fruit neftareous, or the balmy flowh : 

All nature calls aloud : Shall man do lefs 
Than heal the fmiter, and the railer blefs ?” 

Now therd is nofa fhadow of reafon for believ- 
ing, that the poet of Shiraz had borrowed this 
doctrine from the Chriflians ; but, as the caufe 
of Cbrijlianity could never be promoted by falfe- 
hood or errour, fo it will never be obftrufted by 
candour and veracity ; for the leflbns of Con- 
fucius and Chanacya, of Sadi and Ha'fiz, 
are unknown even at this day to millions of 
Cbinefe and Hindus, Perfians and other Ma~ 
hommedittis, who toil for ‘their daily fupport; 
nor, were they known ever fo perfeftly, would 
they have a divine fanftiou with the multitude j 


fo that, in order to enlighten the minds of the 
ignorant, and to enforce the obedience of the 
perverle, it is evidently a prion, that a revealed 
religion was necefTary in the great fyftcm of 
providence: but my principal motive for in- 
troducing this topicK, was to give you a fpcci- 
men of that ancient oriental morality, which is 
comprifcd in an. infinite number of l*etjian, 
/Irabick, and Siinfcrit compofitions. 

Nearly one half oi juri [prudence is clofcly 
conne£tcd with ethicks ; but, fince the learned 
of A fill conlidcr moft of their laws as pofitive 
and divine inftitutions, and not as the mere 
conclufions of human rcafon, and fince I have 
prepared a mafs of extremely curious materials, 
which I referve for an introduction to the digeft 
of Indian laws, I proceed to the fourth divifion, 
which confifts principally of fetence ttanfeend- 
ently fo named, or the knowledge of abJlraSl 
quantities, of their limits, properties and relations, 
imprelTed on the underftanding with the force 
of irrcfiftible demonjlration, which, as all other 
knowledge depends at bell on our fallible fenfes, 
and in great meafure on ftill more fallible tef- 
timony, can only be found, in pure mental ab- 
ftraclions ; though for all the purpofes of life, 
our own fenfes, and even the credible teftimony 
of others, give us in moft cafes the higheft de>. 
gree of gert^nty, phyftcal and inorgl, 


IV. I HAVE already had occafion to touch on 
the Indian metaphy licks of natural bodies accord- 
ing to the moll celebrated of the Jjiatick fchools, 
from which the Pythagoreans are fuppofed to 
have borrowed many of their opinions ; and, as 
we learn from Cicero, that the old lliges of 
Europe had an idea of centripetal force and a 
principle of univerjal gravitation {wdiich they 
never indeed attempted to demonftratc), fo I 
can venture to affirm, without meaning to pluck a 
leaf from the neverfading laurels of our immortal 
Newton, that the whole of his theology and 
part of his philofophy may be found in the 
VMas and even in the works of the Sufis : that 
mojl fubtil Jpirity which he fufpefted to pervade 
natural bodies, and, lying concealed in them, to 
caufe attraction and repulfion, the emiffion, re- 
flection, and ’refraction of light, eleCtricity, ca- 
lefaCtion, fenfation, and mufcular motion, is de- 
feribed by the Hindus as Si fifth element endued 
with thofe ver) powers ; and the Vedas abound 
W’ith allufions to a force univerfally attractive, 
which they chiefly aferibe to the Sun, thence 
called Aditya^ or the Attradtor ; a name dellgned 
by the mythologifts to mean the child of the 
Goddefs Aditi j but the moft wonderful paf- 
f^e on the theory of ittraftion occurs in the 
charming allegorical poem of Shir in and 
Ferha D, or the Divini Spirit and a human 



Soul difinterejledly pious ; a work which from 
the firft verfe to the laft, is a blaze of religious 
and poetical fire. The whole paflage appears 
to me fo curious, that I make no apology for 
giving you a faithful tranflation of it : There 
“ is a ftrong propenfity, which dances through 
every atom, and attradls the minuteft particle 
** to fome peculiar obje£t ; fearch this univerfe 
** from its bafe to its fummit, from fire to air, 
“ from water to earth, from all below the Moon 
‘‘ to all above the celeftial fpheres, and thou 
“ wilt not find a corpufcle deftitute of that na- 
“ tural attraftibility ; the very point of the firft 
“ thread, in this apparently tangled Ikein, is no 
other than fuch a principle of attradion, and 
“ all principles befide arc void of a real bafis ; 
“ from fuch a propenfity arifes every motion 
“ perceived in heavenly or in terreftrial bodies ; 

it is a difpofition to be attraded, which taught 
" hard fteel to rulh from its place and rivet itfelf 
“on the magnet; it is the fame diipofition, 
“ which impels the light ftraw to attach itfelf 
** firmly on amber ; it is this quality, which gives 
“ every fubftance in nature a tendency toward 
“ another, and an inclination forcibly direded 
“ to a determinate point.” Thcfe notions are 
vague, indeed, and iJnfatisfadtory ; but permit 
me to alk, whether the laft paragraph of Nkw- 
ton’s incomparable work goes much farther, 



and whether any fubfequent experiments haftf 
thrown light on a fubjedt fo abftrufe and ob- 
fcure : that the fubliine aftronomy and exqui- 
fitdy beautiful geomeTy, with which that work 
is illumined, Ihould in any degree be approached 
by the Mathematicians of yijia, while of all 
Europeans^ who ever lived, A chimed i:s alone 
was capable of emulating them,, would be a vain 
expedlation ; but we muft fufpend our opinion 
of Indian aftronomical knowledge, till the Surya 
Jiddbdnta fhall appear in our own language, and 
even then (to adopt a phrafe of Cicero) our 
greedy and capacious ears will by no means be 
fatisfied ; for in order to complete an hiftorical 
account of genuine Hindu aftronomy, we require 
verbal tranflations of at leaft thtee other Sanfcrit 
books; of the treatife by Paras ar a, for the 
firft age of Jndia'n fcience, of that by Vara'ha, 
with the copious comment of his very learned 
fon, for the middle age, and of thofe written by 
Bhascara, for times comparatively modern. 
The valuable and now acceffible works of the 
laft mentioned philofopher, contain alfo an uni- 
verjal, or fpecious, arithmetick, with one chapter 
at leaft on geometry; nor would it, furely, be 
difficult to procure, through our feveral refidents 
with the and with^SciNDHYA, the older 

booki^On algebra, which Bhascara mentions, 
and on which Mr. Davis would juftly fet a 



very high value ; but the Sanfcrit work, from 
which we might expedl the moft ample and im- 
portant information, is entitled CJhHrdderfa, or 
a View of Geometrical Knowledge^ and was com- 
piled in a very large volume by order of the il- 
luftrious Jayasinha, comprifmg all that re- 
mains on that fcience in the facred language of 
India : it was infpedted in the weft by a Pandit 
now in the fervice of Lieutenant Wilford, 
and might, I am perfuaded, be purchafed at 
Jayanagar, where Colonel Polier had permit* 
fion from the Pdjd to buy the four V edas them- 
felves. Thus have I anfwered, to the beft of 
my power, the three firft queftions obligingly 
tranfmitted to us by profeflbr Playfair ; whe- 
ther the Hindus have books in Sanfcrit exprefs- 
ly on geometry, whether they have any fuch 
on arithmetick, and whether a trahflation of the 
Siirya fiddhdnta be not the great defideraium on 
the fubjedl of Indian aftronomy : to his three 
laft queftions, whether an accurate fuinmary ac- 
count of all the Sanfcrit works on that fubjedl, 
a delineation of the Indian celeftial fphere, with 
corredl remarks on it, and a defeription of the 
aftronomical inftruments ufed by the ancieilt 
Hindus, would not feveraily be of great utiljty, 
we cannot but anfwer* in the affirmative, pro- 
vided that the utmoft critical fagacity were ap- 
plied in diftinguiihing fuch works, cooftellations; 



and inftruments, as are clearly of Indian origin, 
from fuch as were introduced into this country 
by Mufelman aftronomers .from Tartary and 
Terfia, or in later days by Mathematicians from 

V, From all the properties of man and of na- 
ture, from all the vafious branches of fcience, 
from all the dedudions of human reafon, the ge- 
neral corollary, admitted by Hindus^ Arabs, and 
Tartars, by Perjians, and by Cbineje, is the fu- 
premacy of an all-creating and all-preferving 
fpirit, infinitely wife, good, and powerful, but 
infinitely removed from the comprehenfion of 
his moft exalted creatures ; nor are there in any 
language (the ancient Hebrew always excepted) 
more pious and fublime addrefles to the being of 
beings, more fplendid enumerations of his attri- 
butes, or more btiautiful deferiptions of his vifible 
works., than in Arabick, Perjiun and Sanferit, 
efpecially in the Koran, the introdudions to the 
poems of Sadi, Niza'm'i, and Firdausi, the 
four Vedas and many parts of the numerous Pu~ 
rdnas : but fupplication and pralfe would not 
fatisfy the boundlefs imagination of the Veddnii 
and Siift theologifts, who blending uncertain me- 
ta|i)|^)|jp.witjh undoubted principles of religion, 
hfliyp prefumed to reafon.confidently on the very 
nature and efience of the divine fpirit, and af- 
in a very remote age, what multitudes of 


Hindus and Mufehnans aifert at this hour, that 
all fpirit is hoin6geneou8, that the fpirit of God 
is in kind the fame with that of man, though 
differing from it infinitely in degree, and that, 
as material fubftance is mere illufion, there exifts 
in this univerfe only one generick fpiritual fub- 
ftance, the foie primary caufe, efficient, fub- 
ftantial and formal of all fecondary caufes and of 
all appearances whatever, but endued in its high- 
eft degree, with a fubllme providential wifdom, 
and proceeding by ways incomprehenfible to the 
fpirits which emane from it ; an opinion, which 
Go'tama never taught, and which we have no 
authority to believe, but which, as it is grounded 
pn the do<ftrine of an immaterial creator fu- 
premely wife, and a conftant preferver fupreme- 
ly benevolent, differs as widely from the pan- 
theifm of SriNOZAand Tol and,’ as th^ affirm- 
ation of a propofition differs from the'^nega- 
tion of it ; though the laft named profeffor of 
that infane pbilofophy had the bafenefs to conceal 
his meaning under the vefy words of Saint 
Paul, which are cited by Newton for a pur- 
pofe totally different, and has even ufed a phrafe, 
which occurs, indeed, in the FMa, but in a fenffe 
diametrically oppofite to that, which he would 
have given it. The paffage, to which I allude, 
is in a fpeech of Va run a to his fon, where he 
fays : “ That fpirit, from which thefe created 

VOL. I. T ' ■ 


“ beii^ t>roceed; through which having pro- 
** needed from it, they live ; toward which they 
*♦ tend and in which they are ultimately abforbi* 
** ed, that fpirit ftudy to know ; that Q>irit is the 
** Great. One.” 

The fubjedl of this difrourfe, gentlemen, is in^^ 
exhauftible : it has been my endeavour to fay as 
much on it as pollible in the fewell words ; and, 
at the beginning of next year, I hope to clofe thefe 
general difquifitions with topicks meafurelefs 
in extent, but lefs abfrrufe than that, which has 
this day been difeufled, and better adapted to the 
gaiety, which feems to have prevailed in the 
learned banquets of the Greeks^ and which ought, 
furely, to prevail in every fympofiack aflembly. 

¥(d ''' , 

u/je System ^ 

L E T T E R S. 

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a. a 








w a 

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a i 

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A. V 

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a a 

( 'o/fA'omw/s 


J c’ha ) 




klia t 




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s U 

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fi a 

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ifa r 



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A DlSStlttATldN 

. * ' * ,’-y. 




Every man, who has occafion to compofe 
irads on JJiaticJi Literature, or to tranflate from 
the Afiatick Languages, muft always find it con- 
venient, and fometimes neceffary, to exprefs 
Arabian, Indian, and Perjian words, or fen- 
tences, in ,the charaders generally ufed among 
Europeans] and almoft every writer ih'thofe 
ctrcumfrances has a iaet|tpi^^j 

found may be rendered invariably by one appro- 
priated fymbol, conformably to the natural order 
of articulation, and with a due regard to thb 
primitive power of the Roman alphabet^ which 
modem Europe has in general adopted. A 
want of attention to this objed has occafioned 
great confufion in Hiftory and Geography. The 

T 2 ’• * 


ancient Greeks^ who made a voluntary facrifice 
of truth to the delicacy of their ears, appear to 
have altered by defign almoft all the oriental 
names, which they introduced into their elegant, 
but romandek, Hiftories ; and even their more 
modern Geographers, who were tpo vain, per- 
haps, of their own language to learn any other, 
have fo ftrangely difguifed the proper appel- 
lations of countries, cities, and rivers in AJia, 
that, without the guidance of the fagacious and 
indefatigable M. D’Anville, it would have 
been as troublcfome to follow Alexander 
through the Patyab on the Ptolemaic k map of 
Agathodjemon, as adlually to travel over the 
fame country in its prefent Hate of rudenefs and 
diforder. They had an unwarrantable habit of 
moulding foreign names to a Grecian form, and 
giving ^em a refemblance to fome derivative 
worddn their own tongue i thus, they changed the 
Gogra into AgoramSy or a river of. the ajfembly, 
Uebab into Oay.dracce,y pr Jbarpjigbted, and Re-r 
nos into AornoSy or a rock imccejfible to birds ; 
whence their poets, who delighted in wonders, 
embelliihed their works with new images, dif: 
tinguifhing regipns and fprtrelTes by properties, 
which exifted'pnly in imagination. If we have 
lefs livelinels of fancy 'than the Ancients, wf 
have more aeiniracy, more love of truth, and, 
prhaps, more folidity of judgment ; and^ if our 



MvrDrks ihall afford lefs delight to thofe, in refpedt 
of whom we (hall be Ancients; it may be faid 
Tvdthout prefumption, that we Ihall give them 
more corredl information -on the Hiftory and 
Geography of this eaftern world ; lince. no man 
can perfeftly defcribe a country, who is unac> 
quanted with the language of it. The learned 
and entertaining work of M. D’Herbelot, 
which profeffes to interpret and elucidate the 
names of perfons and. places, and the titles of 
books, abounds alfo in citations from the beft 
writers of Arabia and Verfia j yet, though his 
orthography will be found lefs defedfive than 
that of other writers on fimilar fubjedlsj without 
excepting the illuftrious Prince Kantemir, 
ftill it requires mbre than a moderate knowledge 
of Perjian, Arabick, and TurkiJJj, to comprehend 
all the paffages quoted by Kim m^European 
charadters ; one inftance of which I cannot 
forbear giving. In the account of Ibm Zaidurit 
a celebrated Andalujian poet, the firft couplet of 
an elegy in Arabick is praifed for its elegance, 
and expreffed thus in Roman letters : 

lekad he'i'n tenagikotn dhatnairna j 

lacdha ^laina alaiTa laula talfina. 


The time, adds* the .tranllator, will foon 
come, when you will deliver us from all ova 
** cares : the remedy b affured, provided we 



“ have a little patience.*’ When Dr. Hunt of 
Oj^ord, whom 1 am bound to name with gra- 
titude and veneration, together with two or three 
others, attempted at - my requeft to write the 
fame dil^ich in Arabum charaders, they all 
wrote it differently, and all, in my prefent opi- 
nion, erroneoufly. I was then a very young 
ftudent, and could not eafily . have procured. 
Ibm Zaiduns works, which are, no doubt, pre- 
ferved in the Bodley library, but which have 
not fince fallen in my way. This admired cou- 
plet, therefore, I have never feen in the original 
characters, and confefs myfelf at alofs to render 
them with certainty. Both verfes are written 
by D'Herbelot without attention to the gram- 
matical points, that is, in a form which no learn- 
ed Arab would give them in recitation ; but, al- 
though th6 French verfion be palpably erroneous. 
It is by no means eafy to correCl the errour. If 
dlds^ or a remedy be the true reading, the nega- 
tive particle muft be abfurd, fmce tadjfaina fig- 
nifies we are patient, and not we defpair, but, if 
dldfay or affii&ion be the proper word, fome ob- 
fcurity muft arife from the verb, with which it 
agrees. On the whole I guefs, that the diftich 
ihould thus be written : 



Tecddu bbim timdjicum d‘<emiirunh 
Takdi Maim ‘Idfay lau Id tadfsind* 

" When our bofoms impart their fecrets to 
“ you, anguith would aimoft fix our ^oom, i£ 
“ we were not mutually to confole ourfelves.’* 
The principal verbs may have a future fenfe* 
and the laft word may admit of a different inter- 
pretation. Dr. Hunt, I remember, had found 
in Gigoeius the word-dbem^er, which he con- 
ceived to be in the original. After all, the 
rhyme feems imperfed, and the meafure irre- 
gular. Now I afk, whether fuch perplexities 
could have arifen, if UHerbelot or his Editor 
had formed a regular fyilsm of exprelEng Ara- 
tick in Roman characters, and had apprized bis 
readers of it in his introductory differtation i 
If a further proof be requiredT, that fUch a fyf* 
tern will be ufeful to the learned and effential to 
the ftudent, let me remark, that a learner of 
PerJiaUf who fhould read in our belt hiftories 
the life of Sultan Azim, and wilh to write his 
name in Arabick letters, might exprefs it thirty- 
nine different ways, and be wrong at laft: the 
word fhould be written Adzem with three points 
on the iirft confonant. 

There are two general modes of exhibiting 
AJiatick words in our own letters: they are 
founded on prukiples nearly oppoiite, but each 


of them has hs advatltages, and each has been 
recommended by refpeftable authorities. The 
firft profefles to regard chiefly the pronunciation 
of the words intended to be expreflfed ; and this 
method^as far as it can be purfued, is unqueftion- 
ably ufeful : but new founds are very inade- 
quately prefented to a fenfe not formed to re- 
ceive them ; and the reader mull in the end be 
left to pronounce many letters and fyllables pre- 
carioufly; befides, that by this mode of ortho- 
graphy all grammatical analogy is dellroyed, 
Ample founds are reprefented by double cha- 
ra^ers, vowels of one denomination Hand for 
thofe of another ; and polfibly with all our la- 
bour we perpetuate a provincial or inelegant 
pronunciation : all thefe objections may be made 
to the ufual way of writing Kummerbund, in 
which neither tfie letters nor the true found of 


them are preferved, while Kemerbend^ or Cetner- 
hend^ as an ancient Briton <vould write it, clearly 
exhibits both the original characters and the 
pronunciation of them. To fet this 
point in a ftrong light, we need only fuppofe, 
that the French had adopted a fyftem of letters 
wholly diflferent from ours, and of which we 
had no types in our printing-houfes : let us con- 
ceive an Englijbman acq&ainted with their lan- 
guage to be pleafed with Malherbe’s well- 
known iimtation of Horace^ and defurous of 

OF AStATIOK WOitDd. 25 s 

quoting it ift fome piece of criticifm. He would 
read thus : 

‘ La mort a des rigueurs a nulle autre pareilles ; 

‘ On a beau la prier: 

^ La cruelle qu’elle eft fc bouche les oreilless 
‘ Et nous lailTe crier. 

‘ Le pauvre en fa cabanc, ou le chaumc le couvre, 

* Eft fujet a fes loix, 

* Et la garde, qui veille aux barrieres du Lotwre^ 

‘ N’en defend pas nos rois !’ 

Would he then exprefs thefe eight verfes, in 
Roman chara£lers, exactly as the French them- 
felves in fa(5l exprefs them, or would he deco- 
rate his compofition with a paflage more re- 
fembling the dialedl of favages, than that of a 
pollrtied nation ? His pronuncktion, good or 
bad, would., perhaps, be thus reprefented ; 

* Law more aw day reegyewrs aw nool otruh parellyuh, 

‘ Onne aw bo law precay ; 

^ Law crooellyuh kellay fuh boodmh lays oreliyub, 

‘ Ay noo layfuh creeay. 

* Luh povre ong faw cawbawn oo luh chomuh luh coovruh, 

* Ay foozyet aw fay Iwaw, 

* Ay law gawrduh kee velly 6 bawryayruh dyoo Loovruh 

‘ Nong dayfong paw no rwaw !’ 

The fecond fyftem of JJiatick Orthography 
condfts in fcrupuloufly rendering lettep^br letter/ 



without any particular care to preferve the pro- 
nunciation ; and, as long as this mode proceeds 
by unvaried rules, it feems clearly entitled to 

For the firft method of writing Perjian words 
the warmeft advocate, among my acquaintance, 
was the late Major Davy, a Member of our 
Society, and a man of parts, .whom the world 
loft prematurely at a time, when he was me- 
ditating a literary retirement, and hoping to pafs 
the remainder of his life in domeftick happinefs, 
and in the cultivation of his very ufeful talents. 
He valued himfelf particularly on his pronun- 
ciation of the Pcrjian language, and on his new 
way of exhibiting it in our charadlers, which he 
inftrudted the learned and amiable- Editor of his 
Injiitutes of Timour at Oxford to retain with 
minute attention throughout his work. Where 
he had acquired his refined articulation of the 
Perjian, I never was informed j but it is evi- 
dent, that he fpells moft proper names in a man- 
ner, which a native of Perjia, who could read 
our letters, would be unable to comprehend. 
For inftance: that the capital of Azarbdijdn is 
now called Tabriz, I know from the mouth of a 
perfon bom in that city, as well as from other 
Iranians', and that it was fo called fixteen hun- 
dred years^^o, we all know from the Geography 
of PtoleHfj^ yet Major Davy always wrote it 



Tubburaze, and infifted thiU; it (hould thus be 
pronounced. Whether the natives of Semer~ 
hand, or Samarkand^ who probably fpeak the 
dialedt of Sogbd with a Turanian pronunciation, 
call their birthplace, as Davy ipelled it,. Sum- 
murkund, I have yet to learn ; but I cannot be- 
lieve it, and am convinced, that the former mode 
of writing the word exprcfies both the letters 
and the found of them better than any other 
combination of charadlcrs. His method, there- 
fore, has every defe£l ; lince it renders neither 
the original elements of words, nor the founds 
reprefented by them in Perjia, where alone we 
muft feek for genuine PerfiaHy as for French in 
France, and for Italian in Italy. 

The fecond- method has found two able fup- 
porters in Mr. Halhed and Mr. Wilkins; to 
the lirft of whom the publick is indebted for a 
perfpicuous and ample grammar of the Bengal 
langu^e, and to the fccond for more advantages 
in Indian literature than Europe, or India, can 
ever fulficiently acknowledge. 

Mr. Halhed, having jurtly remarked, ‘ that 
‘ the two greateft defers in the orthography of 
‘ any language are the application of the fame 
‘ letter to feveral different founds, and of different 
‘ letters to the fame found?' truly pronounces them 
both to be * fo common in Efiglijh, that he was 
‘ exceedingly embarraffed in the choice of letters 


‘ to exprefs the found of the Bengal vowels, an^ 
‘ was at laft by no means fatisfied with his own 
* felediion.’ If any thing diflatisfies me, in his 
clear and accurate lyftem, it is the ufe of double 
letters .for the long vowels (which might how- 
ever be juftified) and the frequent intermixture 
of Italick with Roman letters in the fame word j 
which both in writing and printing mull be 
very inconvenient : perhaps it may be added, 
that his diphthongs are not exprelTed analogoufly 
to the founds, of which they are compofed. 

The fyftem of Mr. Wilkins has been equally 
well confidered, and Mr. Halhed himfelf has 
indeed adopted it in his preface to the Compila- 
tion of Hindu Laws : it principally confifts of 
double letters to fignify oUr third and fifth 
vowels, and of the common profodial marks to 
afcertain their \>revity or their length ; but thofe 
marks are fo generally appropriated to books of 
profody, that they never fail to convey ^ idea 
of metre ; nor, if profodial fign were adbpt- 

ed, would both be neceflary j fince the omiffion 
of a long mark would evidently denote the (hort- 
nefs of the unmarked vowel, or converfely. On 
the whole, I cannot but approve this notation 
for Sanfcrit words, yet require fomething more 
tmiverfally expreflive of AJiatick letters : as it is 
pofe^i, however, in its kind, and will appear 
in the works of its learned inventor, I Ihall an- 


nex, among the examples, four diftichs from the 
Bhdgawat exprefled both in his method and 
mine * : a tranflation of them will be produced 
pn another occafion ; but, in order to render this 
trad as complete as poffible, a fuller fpecimen of 
$anfcrit will be fubjoined with the original 
printed in the charaders of Bengal, into which 
the Brahmans of that province tranfpofe all their 
books, few of them being able to read the De~ 
vandgari letters ; fp far.has their indolence pre» 
vailed over their piety ! 

Let me now proceed, not prefcrlbing rules for 
others, but explaining thofe which I have prcr 
fcribed for myfelf, to unfold my own fyftem, 
the convenience of which has been proved by 
careful obfervation and long experience. 

It would be fuperfluous to difcourfe on the 
organs of fpeech, which have Ueen a thoufand 
times difleded, and as often del'cribed by ipiili- 
cians or anatomifts j and the feveral powers of 
whiph every man may perceive either by the 
touch or by fight, if he will attentively obferve 
another perfon pronouncing the different claffes 
of letters, or pronounce them hinafelf diftindly 
before a mirror : but a fhort analyfis of articulate 
founds may be proper to introduce an examina- 
tion of every feparate fymbol. 

• Plate IV. 



things abound with errour^ as the old fearch- 
ers for truth remarked with defpondence j but it 
is really deplorable, that our firft ftep from total 
ignorance fliould be into grofs inaccuracy, and 
that we fhould begin our education in ^Mg- 
land with learning to read the jive vowels, tzvo 
of which, as we are taught to pronounce 
them, are clearly diphthongs. There are, in- 
deed, five fimple vocal founds in our language, 
as in that of Rome ; which occur in the words 
an innocent bully though not precifely in their 
natural order, for we have retained the true ar- 
rangement of the letters, while we capricioufly 
difarrange them in pronunciation; fo that our 
eyes are fatisfied, and our ears difappointed. 
The primary elements of ai^culation are the 
foft and hard breathings, the Jpiritus lenis and 
jpiritus afper of the Latin Grammarians. If the 
lips be opened ever fo little, the breath fuffered 
gently to pafs through them, and the feebleft 
utterance attempted, a found is formed of fo 
fimple a nature, that, when lengthened, it con- 
tinues nearly the fame, except that, by the leaft 
acutenefs in the voice it becomes a cry, and is 
probably the firft found uttered by infants ; but 
if, while this ‘element is articulated, the breath 
be forced with an effoft through the Kps, we 
f«rm an ajpirate more or lefs harfh in pro- 
portion to the force exerted. When, in pro- 


nouncing the fimple vowel, we open our lips 
wider, we exprefs a found completely articulated, 
which moft nations Have agreed to place the 
jirjl in their fymbolical fyftems: by opening 
them wider ftill with the comers of them a 
little drawn back, we give birth to the fecond c£ 
the Roman vowels, and by a large aperture, vrith 
a farther inflexion of the lips and a higher ele- 
vation of the tongue, we utter the third of them. 
By purfing up our lips, in the leaft degree, wc 
convert the fimple element into another found 
of the fame nature with the JirJl vowel, and 
eafily confounded with it in a broad pronun- 
ciation : when this new found is lengthened, it 
approaches very nearly to the fourth vowel, 
which we form by a bolder and ftronger ro- 
tundity of the mouth ; a farther contraction of 
it produces the fifth vowel, whlbh’ in its elon- 
gation almoft clofes the lips, a final! paflage only 
being left for the breath. Thefe are all fhort 
vowels; and, if an Italian vvere to read the 
words an innocent bull, he would give the found 
of each correfponding long vowel, as in the mo- 
nofyllables of his own language, 7^, To, 
Between thefe ten vowels are numberlefs gra-- 
dations, and nice inflexions, which ufe only can 
teach ; and, by the compofition of, them all, 
might be formed an hundred diphthongs, and a 
Aoufand triphthongs ; many of which are found 


ini Italian, and were probably articulated by the 
Greeks ; but we have only occafion, in this 
tra£t, for two diphthongs, which are compound- 
ed of the JirJi vovvel with the third, and with 
the jijthy and fliould be exprefled by their con- 
ftituent letters: as to thofe vocal compounds 
which begin with the third a.r\d Jifth fliort vowels, 
they are generally and not inconveniently ren- 
dered by diftin£i charadlers, which are im- 
properly ranged among the confonants. The 
tongue, which aflifts in forming feme of the 
vowels, is the principal inftrument in articulat- 
ing two liquid founds, which have fomething of 
a vocal nature; one, by ftriking the roots of the 
upper teeth, while the breath pafles gently 
through the lips, another, by an inflexion up- 
wards ^ith a tremulous motion ; and thefe two 
liquids coalefct with fuch eafe, that a mixed 
letter, ufed iq fome languages, iqay be formed 
by the firft of them followed by the fecond : 
when the breath is obftrufted by the preflure of 
the tongue, and forced between the teeth on 
pach fide of it, a liquid is formed peculiar tq th§ 
Brityh dialect of the Celtick, 

We ^y now confidcr in the fame order, be- 
ginning with tbe ^•oot of the tongue and ending 
with the^ji^fed clofe qf the lips, thofe lefs mu- 
fical which require the aid of a vawel,^ 

or at lemj: of the Jimple breathing, to be fully ^ir-r 



tieulated j and it may here be premlfed, that the 
harjb breathing diftinftly pronounced after each 
of thefe confonanls^ as they are named by gram- 
marians, conftitutes' its proper afpirate. 

By the afliftance of the tongue and the palate 
are produced two congenial founds, differihg only 
as hard and/oft ; and thefe two may be formed 
ftill deeper in the throat, fo as to imitate, with a 
long vowel after them, the voice of a raven; but 
if, while they are uttered, the breath be harflily 
protruded, two analogous articulations are heard, 
the fecond of which feems to charafterize the 
pronunciation of the Arabs', while the nafal 
found, very common among the Perfians and 
Indians, may be confidered as the foft palatine 
with part of the breath palling through the 
nofe; which organ would by itfelf rather pro- 
duce a vocal found, common alfcj in Arabia, and 
not unlike the cry of a young antelope and fomc 
other quadrupeds. 

Next come different clalfes of dentals, and 
among the firft of them lliould be placed the 
fibilants, which moll nations exprefs by an in- 
dented figure : each of the dental founds is hard, 
o^ foft, lharp or obtufe, and, by thrufting the 
tip of the tongue between the teeth, we form 
two founds exceedingly common in Arabick and 
Englijh, but changed into lifping fibilants by 
the Perjians and French, while they on the 

VOL. I. W 


Other hand have a found unknov(rn to the Arahs^ 
and uncommon in our language, though it occurs 
in fome words by the com'pofiticn of the hard fibi- 
lant with our laft vowel pronounced as a diph- 
thong. The liquid nafal follows thefe, beingform- 
ed by the tongue and roots of the teeth, with a 
little afliftatice from the other organ; and we mud 
particularly remember, when we attend to the pro- 
nunciation of Indian dialects, that mod founds of 
this clafs are varied in a fmgular manner by turn- 
ing the tongue upwards, and almod bending it 
back towards the palate, fo as to exclude them 
nearly from the order, but not from the ana- 
logy, of dentals. 

The labials form the lad feries, mod of which 
are pronounced by the appuife of the lips on 
each other or on the teeth, and one of them by 
their perfect dofe : the letters, by which they 
are denoted, reprefent in mod alphabets the cur- 
vature of one lip or of both ; and a natural cha- 
raSicr for all articulate founds might eafily be 
agreed on, if nations would agree on any thing 
generally beneficial, by delineating the feveral 
organs of fpeech in the ad: of articulation, and 
fcle£ting from each a didin<d and elegant outline. 
A perfedt language would be that, in which 
every idea, capable of »ntering the human mind, 
might be neatly and emphatically exprefled by 
one fpcdfick word, fimple if the idea were fim- 


pie, complex, if complex ; and on the fame 
principle a perfe<a fyliem of letters otlght to 
contain one fpecifick fymbol for every found 
ufed in pronouncing the language to which they 
belonged: in this refpeft the old Perjian or 
Zend approaches to perfe(ftion ; but the Arabian 
alphabet, which all Mohammedan nations have 
inconfiderately adopted, appears to me fo com- 
plete for the purpofe of writing Arahick, that 
not a letter could be added or taken away with- 
out manifeft inconvenience, and the fame may 
indubitably be faid of the Devandgari fyftem ; 
which, as it is more naturally arranged than any 
other, fhall here be. the ftandard of my particulas: 
obfervations on Ajiatick letters. Our Englijb 
alphabet and orthography are difgracefully and 
almoft ridiculoufly imperfect ; and it would be 
impoflible to exprefs either Indian^ Perjian^ or 
Arabian words in Roman charadlers, as we are 
abfurdly taught to pronounce them ; but a mix- 
ture of new charaders would be inconvenient, 
and by the help of the diacritical marks ufed by 
the French, with a few of thofe adopted in our 
own treatifes on fluxions, we may apply our 
prefent alphabet fo happily to the notation of all 
Jflatick languages, as to equal the Devandgari 
itfelf in precifion and dlearnefs, and fo regularly 
that any one, who knew the original letters, 
might rapidly and unerringly tranfpofe into theUi 



all the proper names, appellatives, or cited paf- 
fages, occurring in tradt^ of Jfiatick literature. 

• ^ 

This is the fimpleft element of articulation, or 
firft vocal found, concerning ■which enough has 
been faid: the word America begins and ends 
with it ; and its proper fymbol therefore is A ; 
though it may be often very conveniently ex- 
prefled by E, for reafons; which I fliall prefently 
offer. In our own anomalous language we com- 
monly mark this elementary found by our fifth 
vowel, but fometimes exprefs it by a ftrange va- 
riety both of vowels and diphriiongs ; as in the 
phrafe, a mother bird fiuUcrs over her young ; an 
irregularity, which no regard* to the derivation 
of words or to blind cuftom can in any degree 
juftify. The *Ndgari letter is called Acar, but 
is pronounced in Bengal like our fourth fhort 
vowel, and in the zvefl of India, like our firfi : 
in all the dialects properly Indian it is confider- 
cd as inherent in every confonant ; and is placed 
lad in the fyftem of the Tibetians^ becaufe the 
letters, which include it, are firft explained in 
their fchools. If our double confonants were 
invariably conne<ft:ed, as in Sanfcrit, it would 
certainly be the better way to omit the fimple 
element, except when it begins a word. This 
letter anfwers to the faUbhab, or open found of 

^ m X f ^ 

^ ^ ^ 4 5 ^ ^ f 

^ \ ^ 

^ ^T ^ =^ ■ ^ ^ 

■^^217171515; «r 

q fl ^ fr Ti 



/ \ 


— ' 




• 4 









• ♦ 




. ^ 












. & 




— i 



✓ 4 









■ C 








icilijiijid cl cl 

vJ' -ew 

-> ^ -A 

(db fni 


tlw ArahSf and, in fome few words, to the Zeher 
of the Per^anSy or an acute accent placed above 
the letter; but this Arabian mark, which was 
fupplied in the Pablavi by a diftindt charadter, 
is more frequently pronounced at Isfahan either 
like our firjl or our fecond Ihort vowel, as in 
chajbm ferzend, and the diftindtion feems to 
depend, in general, on the nature of the con- 
fonant, which follows it. Two of our letters, 
therefore, are neceflary for the complete nota- 
tion of the acar and zeber; and thus we may 
be able occafionally to avoid ridiculous or offen- 
five equivocations in writing Oriental words, 
and to preferve the true pronunciation of the 
Perjians, which differs as widely from that of 
the Munima'ns in India, as the language of our 
Court at St. yames’s differs from that of thd 
^u^icks in xhe Gentle Sbepberd> 

When the firjl vowel, as the Perjians pro- 
nounce it in the word bakbt, is doubled or pro- 
longed as in bakbt, it has the found of the fecond 
Nagari vowel, and of the firft Arabick letter, 
that is, of our long vowel in cqft ; but the Arab's 
-deride the Perfians for their broad proriunciatidA 
of this letter, which in Iran has always the found 
of our vowel in colly and is often fo^prolatedi as 
to referable the fourth pd even fifth of our 


long vowels. Its natiur^ mark would be the 
Ihort A doubled I but ah acute accent in the 
middle of words, or a grave at the end of them, 
will be equally clear, and conformable to the 
practice of polifhed nations on the continent of 
Europe. The very broad found of the Arabian 
letter, which they call extended^ and which 
the Terjians extend yet more, as in the word 
dsdn, may aptly enough be reprefented by the 
profodial fign, fmce it is conftantly long ; where-* 
as the mark batnzab as conftantly Jboriens the 
letter, and gives it the found of the point above, 
or below, it ; as in the words osid and IJldm : 
the changes of this letter may perplex the learner, 
but his perplexity will foon vanifli, as he ad- 
vances. In writing Ajiatick names, we fre- 
quently confound the broad d with its corre- 
fpondent fhort vowel, which we improperly ex- 
prefs by an O ; thus we write Cojfim for Kdjim 
in defiance of analogy and corredlnefs. Our 
vowel in fond occurs but feldom, if ever, in 
Arabian^ Indian, or Perjian words : it is placed, 
neverthelefs, in the general fyftem with the fhort 
profodial mark, and ftands at the head of the 
vowels, becaufe it is in truth only a variation of 
the iimjde breathing. 


€)uf iliird vowel, eorredly pronounced, ap- 
pe^ next in the Nagari fyftem; ibr our fecond 



Ihort vowel has no place in it. This vocal 
found is reprefented in Arabick by an acute 
accent under the letter; which at Mecca has 
almoft invariably the fame pronunciation ; but, 
fince, in the Zend^ a character like tire Greek 
E-pJilon reprefents both our fecond and third 
fhort vowels, the Perjians often pronounce zir 
like zebeTf calling this country Hend^ and the 
natives of it Hetidus: neverthelefs it will be 
proper to denote the Sanfcrit icar, and the Ara- 
bian cajr by one unaltered fymbol ; as in the 
words Indra and Imam. 

The third vowel produced or lengthened is, 
for the reafon before fuggefted, beft marked by 
an accent either acute or grave, as in Italian : 
l^e cerca, fe dice ; 

L’amico dov’e ? 

L’amico infelice, 

Rifpondi, mori ! 

Ah ! no; si gran duolo 
Non darle per me. 

Rifpondi, ma folo : 

Piangendo parti. 

It was once my pradice to 'reprcfent this 
long vowel by two marks, as in the words 
Lebeid and Deiwan, to denote xhelmnt in Ara- 
hick as well as the letter above it ; but my prefent 



opinion is, that Leh'id and Diwdn are more con- 
formable to analogy, and to the Italian ortho- 
graphy, which of &\\ European fyftems approaches 
neareft to perfection, 

This is our fifth vowel ; for our fourth fhort 
one is, like our fecoud, rejected from the pure 
pronunciation of the Sanfcrit in the weft of 
India and at Bdndras^ though the Bengalefe 
retain it in the firft Pldgaft letter, which they 
call ocdr: to the notation of this found, pur vQwel 
in full and the Perfian in gul fhould be conftantly 
appropriated, fmee it is a fimple, articulation, and 
cannot without impropriety be reprefented by 
a double letter. It anfwers to hu-pjilon, and, 
like that, is often confounded with iota: thus 
mufix has the found of mijhc among the modern 
Peifhins, as Numpha was pronounced Nyrnpha 
by the Romans. The damm of the Arabs is, 
however, frequently founded, efpecially in Per- 
fia, like our fhort O in memory^ and the choice 
of two marks for a variable found is not im- 
proper in itfclf, and will fometimes be found 
very convenient, 

The fame lengthened, and properly expreifed 
by an adc^t, as in the word virtu : it is a very 
'Jong vowel in Perjian, fo as nearly to treble the 



quantity of its correfpondent fhort one ; and 
this, indeed, may be obferved of all the long 
vowels in the genuine Jsjahdiu pronunciation ; 
but the letter vdii is often redundant, fo as not 
to alter the found of the fliort vowel preceding 
it ; as in khoJJj and khod : it may, ncverthelefe, 
be right to exprefs that letter by an acceqt. 

A vocal found peculiar to the Smifcrit lan- 
guage : it is formed by a gentle vibration of the 
tongue preceding our third vowel pronounced 
very JJ:ort, and may be well expreffed by the 
profodial mark, as in RiJJji, a Saint. When it 
is connected with a confonant, as in CriJIma, no 
part of it is ufed but the curve at the bottom. 
We have a fimilar found in the word merrily ^ 
the fecond fy liable of which* is much ihorter 
than the firft fyllable of riches. 


The fame complex found confiderably length- 
ened ; and, therefore, diftinguilhable by the pro- 
fodial fign of a long vowel. 

In Bengal, where the ra is often funk in the 
pronunciation of compound fyllables, this letter 
pxprelTes both fyllables pif our word lily } but its 



genuine found, I believe, is /r/, a fhort triph- 
thong peculiar to the Sanfcrit language. 

Whatever be the true pronunciation of the 
former fymbol, this is only an elongation of it, 
and may, therefore, be diftinguiflied by the me- 
trical fign of a long vowel. 


Our fecond long vowel, beft reprefented, like 
the others, by an accent, as in V eda^ the facred 
book of the Hindus^ which is a derivative from 
the Sanfcrit root vid, to know. The notation, 
which I recommend, will have this important 
advantage, that learned foreigners in Europe will 
in general pronounce the oriental words, ex- 
preffed by it, with as much corrednefs and fa- 
cility as our own nation. 


This Is a diphthong compofed of our fiji and 
third vowels, and expreffible, therefore, by them, 
as in the word Vaidya, derived from and 
meaning a man of the medical caji : in Bengal it 
is pronounced as the Greek diphthong in poimen^ 
a fhepherd, was probably founded in ancient 
Greece. The Arabs and the Englifb articulate 
this compofition ex%dly alike, though we are 


pleafed to cxprefs it by a fimple letter, which, 
on the continent of Europe^ has its genuine 
found. In the mouth of an Italian the con- 
ftituent vowels in the words mai and miei do 
not perfectly coalefce, and, at the clgfe of a 
verfe, they are feparated ; but a Frefichman and 
a Perjian would pronounce them nearly like the 
preceding long vowel ; as in the word Mai\ 
which at Paris means our month of the lame 
name, and at Isfahan fignifies wine : the Pcrjian. 
word, indeed, might with great propriety be 
written mei, as the diphthong ieems rather to be 
compofed of our fecond and third Ihort vowels; 
a compofition vpry common in Italian poetry. 


Though a coalition of acar and near forms 
this found in Sanferit, as in the myftical word 
dm, yet it Is in fa£t a fimple articulation, and 
the fourth of our long vowels. 

Here, Indeed, we meet with a proper diph* 
thong, compounded of our firfl and fifth vowels? 
and in Perfia the conftituent founds are not per- 
fectly united ; as in the word Firdaufi, which 
an Italian would pronounce exactly like a na- 
tive of Isfahan. Perhaps, in Arabick words, it 
may be proper to reprefent by an accent the 
fetters ya and wdtv, which, preceded by the 


Open vowel, form the refpeftive diphthong^ in 
Z,ohair and Jauheri ; blip the omiflion of this 
accent would occafipn little inconvenience, 


This is no vowel, but an abbreviation, at the 
end of a fyllable, of the nafal confonants : thus 
the Tortuguefe write Siao for Siam with a nafal 
termination; and the accurate M. D’Anville 
exprefles great unwillingnefs to write Siam for 
the country, and Siamois for the people of it, 
yet acknowledges his fear of innovating, ‘ not- 
‘ withftanding his attachment to the original and 
‘ proper denominations of countries and places/ 
It appears to me, that the addition of a diftindl 
letter ga would be an improper and inconvenient 
mode of expreffing the nafal found, and that 'we 
cannot do bettd" than adopt the Indian method 
of diftinguifhing it, in Sanferit, Cbinefe, and 
Verjian words, by a point above the letter ; as 
in Sinba^ a lion, Cdnb't, the name of an illuf- 
trious Emperor, and Sdmdti, a houfehpld. 

This too is an abbreviation or fubftitute, at 
the clofe of a fyllable, for the Jlnng afpirate, and 
may be diftinguilhed in the middle of a word 
by a hyphen, as in dub-dbuy pain, though it 
feems often to refemble the Arabian ha, which 
gives only a more- forcible found to thp vowel. 


which precedes it, as in bhicmabt fcience. It is 
well known,, that, wheii fuch Arahick words are 
ufed in conftruclion, afpirate of the firft 

noun has the found of ta ; I?ut, as the letter re- 
mains unaltered, it fliotild, I think, be prefervcd 
in our characters, and expreffed either' by two 
points above it, as in Arabick, or by an accentual 
mark ; fince if we write Zuhdahu' ImtilCf or, the 
Flower of the Fealmy with a comma to denote 
the fuppreflion of the dlif, every learner will 
know, that the firft word fliould be pronounced 
Zubdat. The hd is often omitted by us, when 
. we write Perjian in Englijb letters, but ought 
invariably to be inferted, as in Sbdhnamab’, 
fince the afpiratibn is very perceptibly founded 
in the true pronunciation of dcTg^j, rubdhy and 
other fimilar words. The Sanferit character 
before us has the fingular property of being in- 
terchangeable, by certain rules, both with ra, 
and fa ; in the fame manner as the Sylva of the 
•piomans was formed from the /Eolick word hylva, 
find as arbos was ufed in old Latin for arbor. 

• Wc come now to the firft proper confonant 
of the Indian fyftem, in which a feries of letters, 
formed in the throat ne^ar the root of the tongue, 
properly takes the lead. This letter has the found 
pf our k and c in the words king and cannibal ; 


but there will be great convenience in expreffing 
it uniformly by the fecotid of thofe marks, what- 
ever be the vowel following it. The Arabs, 
and perhaps all nations defeended from Sem, 
have a remarkable letter founded near the palate 
with a hard preiTure, not unlike the cawing of a 
raven, as in the word Kafm ; and for this par- 
ticular found the redundance of our own alpha- 
bet fupplies us with an ufeful f)'mbol : the com- 
mon people in Hbejdz and Egypt confound it, 
indeed, with the firft letter of Gahr, and the 
Perjians only add to that letter the hard palatine 
found of the Arabian kdf ; but, if we diftinguifh 
it invariably by we lhall find the utility of 
appropriating^ our c to the notation of the Indian 
letter now before us. The third letter of the 
Roman alphabet was probably articulated like 
the kappa of the Greeks ; and we may fairly 
fuppofe, that Cicero and Cithara were pronounced 
alike at Rome and at Athens : the djb apply 
this letter uniformly to the fame found, as in cae 
and cejn ; and a little pradlice will render fuch 
words as cildb and cinnara familiar to our eyes. 

We hear much of afpirated letters; but the 
only proper afpirates (thofe 1 mean, in whicji a 
llrong breathing is diftindly heard after the coii- 
fonants) are to be found in the languages of f«« 


Hia\ unlefs the word cachexy, which our me- 
dical writers have borj^wed from the Greeks be 
thought an exception to the rule : this afpiration 
may be diftinguiflied by a. comma, as the letter 
before us is expreflcd in the word c’lia?iitra, a 
fpade. The Arabian, Verjian, and Tufcan af- 
pirate, which is formed by a harfh protrufion of 
the breath, while the confonant is roughly arti- 
culated near the root of the tongue, may be 
written as in the word makhzen, a trcafury. 

n . 

Whatever vowel follow this letter, it Ihould 
conftantly be exprelTed as in the Vv'ords gul, a 
flower, anA gil, clay; and we may ohferve, as 
before, that a little ulc will reconcile us to this 
deviation from our irregular fyflem. The Ger- 
mans, v.’hofe pronunciation ajijpears to be more 
confiftent .than our own, would fcarce under- 
ftand the Latin name of their own country, if 
an Englijlman wrere to pronounce it, as he w’as 
taught at fchool. 


The proper afpirate of the laft letter, as in the 
word Raghuvanfa : the Perjians and Arabs pro- 
nounce their ghain with a bur in the throat, and 
a tremulous motion of the tongue, which gives 
it a found refembling that of r, as it is pronounced 
in Northumberland', but it is in truth « compound 


guttural, though frequently exprefled by a flmplc 
letter, as in Gaza, which fhould be written Ghaz- 
zdbf a city of Palejlinc, and in gazelle, as the 
French naturalifts call .the ghazal, or antelope, of 
the Arabians. The Perjian word migb, a cloud, 
is meg'ba in Sanjerit ; as mijh, a fheep, appears 
alfo to be derived from mejba, by that change of 
the long vowels, which generally diftinguifhes 
the Iranian from the Indian pronunciation. 


This is the nafal palatine, which I have already 
propofed to denote by a point above the letter n ; 
fince the addition of a ^ would create confufion, 
and often fuggeft the idea of a different fyllable. 
Thus ends the firft ferics of Ndgar'i le tters, con- 
fifting of the bard and foft guttural, each attend- 
ed by its proper afpirate, and followed by a 7iafal 
of the fame clafs*; which elegant arrangement is 
continued, as far as poffible, through the San-- 
jerit fyftem, and feems conformable to the beau- 
tiful analogy of nature. 


The next is a feries of compound letters, as 
moft grammarians confider them, though fome 
^hold them to be fimple founds articulated near 
the palate. The firft of them has no diftindl 
fign in oyr own alphabet, but is expreffed, as in 
the word China ^ by two letters, which are cer- 


tainly not its component principles; it might, 
perhaps, be more properly denoted, as it is in 
the great work of M. D’Herbelot, by tjb\ 
but the inconvenience of ‘retaining our own 
fymbol will be lefs than that of introducing a 
new combination, or inventing, after the ex- 
ample of Dr. Franklin, a new charafter. 
China is a Sanfcrit word ; and it will be con- 
venient fo to write it, though I feel an inclination, 
to exprefs it otherwife. 

The fame compofition with a ftrong breath- 
ing articulated after it. Harfli as it may I’eem, 
we cannot, if we continue the former fymbol, 
avoid expreffing .this found, as in the word 
cb'handaSy metre. 

This too leems to have been confidered by 
the Hindus as a limple palatine, but appears in 
truth to be the complex exprefiion of dzh: per- 
haps the fame letter may> by a fmall difference 
of articulation, partake of two different founds. 
This at leaft we may obferve, that the letter 
under confideration is confounded, as a Ample 
found, with ya, and, as a compoilnd, with za^ 
one of its conflituents : thus the ydfm'm of Ara- 
ida is by us called jq/minf while the fame man is 

VOL. I. X 


Giorgi 2LLRome and Zorzi at Venice ; or (to give 
an example of both in a fingle word) yug, or 
junSiion, at Bdndres, is jug in Bengal, and was 
pronounced zug, or, in the nominative, zugoti 
at Athens. We Ihould, however, invariably cx- 
prefs the letter before us by ja. 

The Arabian letters d’hald, d ad, and d hd are 
all pronounced in Perfia like za, with a fort of 
lifp from an attempt to give them their genuine 
found : they may be well expreffed as in fluxion- 
ary characters, by a feries of points above them, 
z, z, z. 

The preceding letter afpirated, as in the word 
y’hqPja, a fifli. 

This is the Jeeond nafld compofed of the 
former and the letter ya. As the Italian word 
agnello and our onion contain a compofition of 
n and y, they Ihould regularly be written anyello 
and onyon ; and the Indian found diflfers only in 
the greater nafality of the firfl; letter, which may 
be diftinguiflied, as before, by a point. A very 
ufeful Sanferit root, fignifying to knoiv, begins 
with the letter ja followed by this compound 
najal, and fliould be written jnya j whence jnycina, 
knowledge; but this h<ir£h combination is in 

OF asiatick words. 


Bengal foftened into gya : it is exprefled by a 
diftin£l character, which ftands laft in the plate 
annexed *. 

In the curious work entitled Tohjahiil Hind, 
or The Prcfcnt of this is xhefourLh feries 

of Sanfcrii letters ; but in general it has the third 
rank, more agreeably, 1 think, to the analogy of 
the fyftem. This clafs is pronounced with au 
inflexion of the tongue towards the roof of the 
mouth, which gives an obtufe found to the con- 
fonant, and may be diftinguiflied by an accent 
above it. The firft is the Indian ta, as in the 
word cot'ara, a rotten tree, and is commonly ex- 
prefled in writings by four points, but 

would be better marked by the Arabian ta, 
which it very nearly refembles, ■* 


The fame with a ftrong breathing after it, as 
In Vaicunfha, or umvearied, an epithet of Vipmii. 

A remarkable letter, which the Muf imans 
call the Indian dal ; and exprefs alfo by four 
points over it ; but it Ihould, by analogy to the 
others, be diflinguifhed by an accentual mark as 
in the word dan'da, punifhment. When the 

* Plate II. 

X 2 


tongue is inverted with a flight vibratory mo- 
tion, this letter has a mixture of the ra, with 
which it is often, but incorredtly, confounded ; 
as in the common word her for berUy great. It 
refembles the Arabian dad. 


The preceding letter afpirated, as in D'hdcdy 
Improperly pronounced Dacca. In the fame 
manner may be written the Arabian dbd, but 
without the comma, fince its afpiratc is lefs dif- 
tindlly heard than in the Indian found. 

This is the nafal of the third feries, and form- 
ed by a fimilar inverfion of the tongue : in 
Sanferit words it ufually follows the letters ra 
saxfS. fha (as in Hrdbmcn'a, derived from Bra}man\ 
the Supreme Being ; Fijhniiy a name of his pre- 
ferving power) ; or precedes the other letters of 
the third clafs. 


Here begins the fourth feries, on which we 
have little more to remark. The firft letter of 
this clafs is the common ta, or bard dental, if it 
may not rather be confidered as a lingual. 


Its afpirate, which ought to be written with 
a comma, as in tlic word Afwatt' ha, the Indian 



fig-tree, left it be confounded by our countrymen 
with the yfrabiiin found in thurayya^ the Pleiads^ 
which is precifcly the EiigliJIj afpiration in 
think ; a found, which the Pvrjians and French 
cannot ealily articulate : in Perjian it lliould be 
exprelfed by s with a point above it. 

The fojt dental in Dh’old, or Deity. 

The fame afpirated as in D' henna, juftice, 
virtue, or piety. We muft alfo diftinguifh this 
letter by a comma from the Arabian in dhahab, 
gold ; a found of difficult articulation in France 
and Pdjiay which we write thus very improper- 
ly, inftead of retaining the genuine Anglofaxon 
letter, or expreffing it, as we might with great 
convenience/ dhtis. 

The fimple nafal^ founded by the teeth with 
a little affiftance from the noftrils, but not fo 
much as in many French and Perjian words. 
Both this mfdl and the former occur in the 
narnc Ndrdyen'a, or dwelling in water. 

Next come the labials in the fame order; 
and iirft the hard labial pa, formed by a ftrong 
compreffion of the lips; which fo ill fuits thr- 



configuration of an Arabian mouth, that It can- 
not be articulated by an Arab without much 

The proper nfjnratc of pa, as in the word 
f.h'phn J, but oiren pronounced like our /i;r, as 
in Ji /a/u\{\c.\d of P'Lk’L:, fruit. In truth the /lz 
is a diltind: letter ; and our pha, which in h-i- 
p;li/h is redundant, fhould be appropriated to the 
notation of this Indian labial. 

The fqft labial in Budd’ha, wife, and the 
fecond letter in moll alphabets ufed by Euro- 
pe am which begin with a yowcl, a labial, a 
palatine, and a lingual : it ought ever to be 
diftinguilhed in, Ndgari by a tranfverfe bar, 
though the copy ills often omit this ufeful dif- 

The Indian afpirate of the preceding letter, 
as in the word ' / djha, or a fpoken dialed. No 
comma is nccelfary in this notation, lince the 
found of bba cannot be confounded with any 
in our own language. 

This is the laft nafal, as In Menii^ one of the 
firft created beings according to the Indians : it 


is formed by clofing the lips entirely, whilft the 
breath pafles gently through the nofe ; and here 
ends iW regular arrangement of the Ndgarl 
letters. Another feries might have been added, 
namely, 7^, za, zha, which are in the fame 
proportion as ta, tha, da, dha, and the reft ; but 
the two laft founds are not ufed in Sajifcrit, 

Then follows a fet of letters approaching to 
the nature of vowels : the firft of them feems in 
truth to be no more than our 'third fhort vowel 
beginning a diphthong, and may, therefore, be 
thought a fuperfiuous charadler : lince this union, 
however, produces a kind of confonant articulated 
near the palate, it is ranked by many among 
the confonants, and often confounded with ja : 
hence Tarniuid, a facred river In’ India, called 
alfo the Daughter oj the Sun, is written Joniancs 
by the Greeks, and Jumna, lefs properly, by the 


The two liquids na and ma, one of which is 
a lingual and the other a labial, are kept apart, 
in order to preferve the analogy of the fyftem j 
and the other two are introdueed between the 
two fernivowels : the firft of thefe is ra, as in 
Ra MA, the conqueror of Sildn. 



The fecond is la, in Lanca, another name of 
that iiland both in Tihuty and in India. A de- 
fcd in the organs of the common Bengalefe 
often caufes a confufion between thefe two- li- 
quids, and even the found of na is frequently 
fubftituted for the letter before us. 

When this character correfponds, as it fome- 
times does in Saiifirit, with our zcy/, it is in fadl 
onrf fth Jhort vowel preceding another in form- 
ing a diphthong, and might eafily be fpared in 
our fyftem of letters ; but, when it has the found 
of va, it is a labial formed by linking the lower 
lip againft the u{)per teeth, and niight thus be 
arranged in a feries of proportionals, pUyfa, ha, 
va. It cannot eafily be in this 
manner by the inhabitants of Be?igid and fome 
other provinces, who confound it with ha, from 
which it ought carefully to be dillinguilhed ; 
fmee we cannot conceive, that in fo perfedi a 
fyftem as the Sanferit, there could ever have 
been two fymbols for the fame found. In fadi 
the Montes i arveti of our ancient Geographers 
were fo named from Parveta, not Parbeta, a 
mountain. Xhe waw o'l the Arabs is always a 
vowel, either feparate or coalefcing with another 
in the form of a diphthong; but in Perfian 



words it is a confonant, and pronounced like 
our va, though with rather lefs force. 

Then follow three Jihilants, the hrft of which 
is often, very inaccurately, confounded with the 
fecond, and even with the third ; it belongs to that 
clafs of confonants, which, in the notation here 
propofed, are cxprelfed by acute accents above 
them to denote an inverfion of the tongue 
towards the palate, w'hence this letter is called in 
India the palatine fa. It occurs in a great 
number of words, and fliould be written as in 
paldsa, the name of a facred tree with a very 
brilliant flower. In the faipe manner may be 
noted the slid of the Arabs and Hebrews, which 
laft it refembles in ftiape, and probably refembled 
in found; except that in Casniir ami the pro- 
vinces bordering on l^efia it is hardly diftin- 
guilhable from the following letter. 

The fecond is improperly written flja in our 
EngUJh fyftem, and cha, ftill more erroneoufly, 
in that of the French ; hut the form generally 
known may be retained, to avoid the incon- 
venience of too great a change even from wrong 
to right. This letter, of which fa and ba are 
not the component parts, is formed fo far back 
in the head, that the Indians call it a cere- 



bral : either it was not articulated by the Greeks, 
or they chofe to exprefs it by their Xi ; fince 
of the Ferjian word ArdaJFir they have formed 

The dental fa, which refembles the Hebrew 
letter of the fame found, and, like that, is often 
jniftaken by ignorant copyifts for the 

The ftrong breathing ba, but rather mifplaced 

in the Ndgar) fyftem ; fince it is the fecond 

element of articulate founds : the very hard 

breathing of the Arabs may be w;ell exprelfed by 

doubling the mark of afpiration, as in Mubham- 

med, or by an accent above it in the manner of 

the long vQwels, as in Ahmed. 


The Indian fyftem of letters clofes with a 
compound of ca and JJoa, as in the word park- 
fa, ordeal : it is analogous to our x, a fuper- 
fluous character, of no ufe, that I know of, except 
in algebra. I’he Bengalefe give it the found of 
cya, or of our k in fuch words as kind and fy 
but w’e may conclude, that the other pronun- 
ciation is very ancient, fince the old Fcrfians ap- 
pear to have borrowed their word Raejhah from 
the Racjha, or demon of the Hindus, which is 
written with the letter before us. The Greeks 



rendered this letter by their Kbi, changing Tiac- 
or the fouth, into ‘Dobbin. 

All the founds ufed in .Sanfcrit, Arahich^ Prr- 
Jion^ and Hindi, are arranged fyftematically in 
the table prefixed to this dilfertation * ;.and the 
fingular letter of the Arabs, which they call din, 
is placed immediately before the confonants. It 
might have been clafled, as the modcrh y^zes 
pronounce it, ’ among the flrong nafals of the 
Indians-, but, in Arabia and Verjia, it has a 
very difl'erent found, of which no verbal de- 
feription can give an idea, and may not impro- 
perly be called a naj'al vozvcl: it is uniformly 
diitinguifhed by a ciramipcx cither above a fhort 
vowel or over the letter preceding a long one, 
as ihn, learni'ng, ddlim, learned. 

Agreeably to tlie preceding analyfis of letters, 
if I were tu adopt a new mode (>f KngliJlj ortho- 
graphy, I Ihould write Addifon's deferiptron of 
the angel in the tollowing manner, dillinguifh- 
ing the Jiniplr breathing, or firft clement, which 
W'e cannot invariably omit, by a perpendicular 
line above our firft or fecond vowel : 

So Iiwcn Mil b'di divain camand, 

Tdifjn tpiiipofls fliccs a gilti land. 

Sea ckZ av lot or pci liritanya pafV, 

Calm and iiiip. hi tlraiv*z dliir fyuryas blaH:, 

And, phzM uh’almamz firdcrz tu perform, 

Kaids ia did Iiweriwind and dairccls dhi Harm. 

* riate !• 



This mode of writing poetry would be the 
touchftone of bad rhymes, which the eye as well 
as the ear would inftantly detedt ; as in the firft 
couplet of this defeription, and even in the laft, 
according to the common pronunciation of the 
word perform. I clofe this paper with fpecimens 
of oriental writing, not as fixed ftandards of or- 
thography, which no individual has a right to 
fettle, but as examples of the method, which I 
recommend j and, in order to relieve the dry- 
nefs of the fubjeft, I annex tranflations of all 
but the firft fpecimen, which I referve for an- 
other occafion. 


Four Dijlichsfrom the Sr’ibha'gawat 
Mr. Wilkins’s Orthography, 

ahamevasamevagre nanyadyat sadasat param 
pafcludaham yadctachcha yovascelhyet'a sofmyaham 

rSetertham yat pratecyct'a na pratccyet'a chat^nanee 
tadveedyad atmano mdyani yathu bhafo yathd tamah 

yatha mahantce bliootanec bhootcflioochchavachefliwanoS 
prSvcclhtanyapr'avceflitancc tutha tefhoo natelhwaliam 

ctavadeva jeejnafyam tllttwa jeejuasoonatmanah 
'anwaya vyatccrckabhyam yat fyat sarvatra sarvadi. 

* Sec riate IV, The I/ ttcrs art' in Platt II. 




This wonderful paflage I fhould exprefs in the 
following manner: 

ahamevafamevagre nanyadpt fadafat param 
pas'chadaham yadetachcha ybvas'illiyeta fbfmyaham 

rTturt’ham yat pratiyeta na pratiyeta chatmani 
tadvidyadatmanb mayatn yat’ha bhalb yat’ha tamah 

yat’ha mahanti bhutani bhutefliuchchavachefhwanK 
pravifli'tanyapravifli tani tat’ha tefliu na tcihwaham 

cta\’adeva jijnyafyam taftwa jijnyafunatmanah 
anwaya vyatirccabhyam yat fyat fervatra fervada. 


Mo'ha Mudgara. 

The title of this fine piece properly fignifics 
The Mallet of Dclufion or Folly, but may be 
tranflated A Remedy for Dijlraelioti of Mind : it 
is compofed in regular anapallick verl'es accord- 
ing to the ffridcfl: rules of Greek prolbdy, but 
in rhymed couplets, two of which here form a 
s Idea. 





^<3^* 11 


^ m^" fis” i3’ nsR^" -Wo’ ^ I 
??f3?1^3C»tt(l3JiT 35iPl^Jt»|f5j1’U 

^i^?Jirii<[3?35I^pTo ’I’UlSJ'RIp^” ^!1 

^W^11l!fet5W3jffl: TO^jlSRWll 

o^sptfSs; »F^35* ^tj5l5it5f^l5^ H 



T?* 'itr 'iKr \\ 

II ' * 

SlC.^StTrCK^tra.l^U"'’ Tt’llPiSFipiIlf ; J 

"i-fjrotsrtT ^3it^^5ii3t=rii 

5isi^«i53r!i!i; 11 

r*Rrtir \ 

^RtraiHT C3!if n 

mud'ha jalu'hi dhanagamataflinam 
curu teiiubuddhimanah fuvitrifhnam 
yallabhafe nijacannopattam 
vittam tena vinodaya chittam. 

ca tava canta cafte putrah 
fanfcaroyam ati'vavicbittrah 
cafya twam va cuta ayata 
ftattwam chintava tadidam bhratah. 

ma curu dhanajanayauvanagarvam 
harati nimcftiat calab farvam 
mayamayamidamac’hilam hitwa 
brehmapadam previs'as'u viditwa. 



tadvajjivanamatis’aya chapalam 
cfhenainiha fajjana fangatircca 
bhawati bhawarnavatarane nauca. 
anganfi galitaiii palitam mund'am 
dantavihin'am jatatn tund'am 
tadapi namunchatyas'a bhand'am. 

yavajjananam tavanmaran'am 
tavajjanani jat hare s'ayanam 
iti fanfare fp’hut'atara dofhah 
cat’hamiha manava tava fantoftiah. 
dinayaminyau fayam pratah 
s is iravafantau p u naray atah 
ciilah cridati gach’hatyayu 
lladapi na munchatyasavayuh. 
s'ayyii bhutalamajinam vafah • 
cafya fuc’ham na caroti viragah. 
s'atran mitre piitre bandhau 
ma cum yatnara vigrahafandliau 
bhava famachittah fcrvatra twam 
vanch’hafyachirad yadi vifhnut\\am. 

aih taculachalafeptafamudra 
natwam naham nayam loca 
fiadapi cimart’ham criyate s dcah. 



twayi mayi chanyatraico vifhnur 
vyart’hain cupyafi niayyafahiflinuh 
fervam pas'ycUmanyatmanam 
frrvatrotfrija bhedajnyanam. 

valaftavat crld as'afta 
ftarun'aftdvat tarunlraftah 
vriddhaftavach chintamagnah 
pereme brahman i cdpi nalagnah. 

dwadas'a pnjj’haticiibhiras'clhah 
s'ifhyanara cat’hitubhyupadt^ah 
yeflidm naillia caroti vivcoain 
telham cah curutamatirccam. 

4 verbal Tranflation. 

1. Rcftrain, deluded mortal, thy thirft of ac- 
quiring wealth ,• excite an averfion jrom it ia 
ihy body, undernmding, and inclination : with 
the riches* which thou acquired by thy own ac- 
tions, w ith thefe gratify thy foul. 

2. Who is thy wife ; who t];y fon ; how ex- 
tremely wonderful is even this world j whofe 
creature thou a!fo art\ whence thou earned — 
meditate on this, O brother, and again on this. 

3. Make no boad of opulence, attendants, 
youth ; all thejc time fnatches away in the twink- 
ling of an eye : checking all this illufion like 
Maya, fet thy heart on the foot of Brahme, 
fpeedily gaining knowledge of him. 

VOL. I. y 


4. As a drop of water moves tremulous on 
the lotos-leaf, thus is human life inexpreflibly 
flippery : the company of the virtuous endures 
here but for a moment ; that is our fhip in 
pafling the ocean of the world. 

5. The body is tottering ; the head, grey j 
the mouth, toothlefs : the delicate ftaff trembles 
in the hand, which holds it : ftill the flaggon of 
covet oufnefs remains unemptied. 

6. How foon are zve born ! how foon dead ! 
how long lying in the mother’s womb ! How 
great is the prevalence of vice in this world ! 
Wherefore, O man, haft thou complacency here 
below ? 

7. Day and night, evening and morning, 
winter and fpring depart and return : time fports, 
life pafles on ; yet the wind of e.xpcdtation con- 
tinues unreftrainecl. 


8. To dwell under the manfion of the high 
Gods at the foot of a tree, to have the ground 
for a couch, and a hide for vefturc ; to renounce 
all extrinfick enjoyments,— whom doth not fuch 
devotion fill with delight ? 

9. Place not thy afted;ions too ftrongly on foe 
or friend, on a fon or a kinfinan, in war or in 
peace: be thol^ even-minded towards all, if 
thou defireft fpeedily to* attain the nature of 


10. Eight original mountains, and feven fcas, 
Brahme, Indra, the Sun, and Rudra, thefe 
are permanent: not thou, not I, not this or that 
people ; wherefore then fhould anxiety be raifcd 
in our minds ? 

11. In thee, in me, in every other being is 
Vishnu ; fooliflily art thou offended with me, 
not bearing my approach ; fee every foul in thy 
own foul; in all places lay afide a notion of 

1 2. The boy fo long delights in his ]>lay ; the 
youth fo long purfues his damfcl j the old man 
fo long broods over unealinefs ; that no one me- 
ditates on the Supreme Being. 

13. This is the inftrudlion of learners deliver- 
ed in twelve diflindl ftanzas : what more can be 
done with fuch, as this wqrk fills not with 
devotion J 


The following elegy, which is chofen as a fpe- 
cimcn oi Arabick was compofed by a learn- 

ed Philofopher and Scholar, Mi'r Mu 11 a mi- 
med Husain, before his journey to Haida^ 
rdbdd with Richard Johnson, Efq. 

md tinja Id dnja dllati y 
jdat ilayya dial badhar 

* Plate V. and Plate III. 
Y 3 



alnaumu Mhkalajafnahd 
wadlkalhu idra bihi dldhadr 

riWadat dsunida kaumibu 
Jatakballafat tninba dlgbarar 
nazadt kbaldkbihh'i Icbd 
Alla tujAjiba bifljar 

tfjlxu Alt arikd lid'biilmahin 
fakadat hibA iiajvia Alfabbar 
Ji lailabbi had cabbalat 
biJliivAdibA jajna Alkamar 

ica tcrai AlgbamA/na cciAjmuUn 
Icrdi Ahmjuma dial AJhar 
li’hci uyi'inon liljemdi 
Alai badayikiba Alziihar 
wiu'ilbcrku ychjhm tbegruhu 
djabAu' libatica algbiyar 
xvadlrddu c/ida yukbarriku 
Alds'mAkba Ji s iimmi Alb ajar 
fabaxi'at iudaiiikunl ivakad 
b'adbarat ituiki min kbafar 
xcaAldcmu bclla kbududaba 
u'ajukui riyad'An lilnad'bar 

wateneffafat id b calhnnat 
zvaramat fuze Adi biAlJbcrar 
d ballat luAAlibinid dlai 
Ah jedda h Azmu AJfaJar 

kaLit Adbabta fuzcAdanA 
zvaAdbakiabu b erra Alfakar 


tadsi diidmera lUhawai 
u'atutiuu nJs-ih'aca dlghudar 
zvatcduru min dnl'in' ib.i 
drdiii xvamd tmhn dlmckirr 
yiiummi tesirii bica //Ibibbdru . 

■LvaUirab aiv Uumii Inluvr 

md dhd dfddaca jaidabon 
baiila dlbilddi Jhvm did ajar 
adlijla dd'blda dljcld 
zvafidsita drama dlbdjlhr 

dm kad nu’hdlajhudrand 
yd zvdih'a kbillhi kad tiafar 
fdrb'm dial kalbi dlladbi 
I'dnui ‘dlfulimni'd zvamd kadar. 

The Tranflation. 

1. Neyer, oh ! never fliall I forget the fair 
one, v.'ho came to my tent with timid circum- 
fpedion : 

2. Sleep fat heavy on her eye-lids, and her 
heart fluttered with fear. 

3. She had marked the dragons of her tribe 
(the feniimh), and had difmilTed all dread of 
danger from them ; 

4. She had laid afidc the rings, which ufed 
to grace her ankles; left the found of them Ihould 
c.xpofe her to calamity : 


5. She deplored the darknefs of the way, 
which hid from her the inorning-ftar. 

6. It was a night, when the eye-lafhes of the 
moon were tinged with the black powder (Al- 
cohol ) of the gloom : 

y. A night, in which thou mighteft have feen 
the clouds, like camels, eagerly grazing on the 

8. While the eyes of heaven wept on the 
bright borders of the fky ; 

9. The lightning* difplayed his fliining teeth, 
with wonder at this change in the firmament j 

1 o. And the thunder almoft burft the ears of 
the deafened rocks. 

1 1. She was defirous of embracing me, but, 
through modefty, declined my embrace. 

12. Tears bedewed her cheeks, and, to my 
eyes, watered a bower of rofes. 

13. When fhe fpake, her panting fighs blew 
flames into my heart. 

1 4. She continued expoftulating with me on 
my excelTive delire of travel. 

15. ‘ Thou haft melted my heart, Ihe faid, 
\ and made it fe4 inexpreflible anguilh. 

16. ‘ Thou art perverfd in thy conduct to her 
^ who loves thee, and pbfequious to thy guileful 
f advifer. 



17. * Thou goeft- round from country to 

* country, and art never pleafed with a fixed 

* refidence. 

18. ‘ One while the fea&roll with thee ; and, 
' another while, thou art agitated on the fliore. 

1 9. ‘ What fruit, but painful fatigue, can arifc 
‘ from rambling over foreign regions ? 

20.. ‘ Ifaft thou afl'ociated thyfelf with the 

* wild antelopes of the defert, and forgotten the 

* tame deer ? 

21. ‘ Art thou weary then of our neighbour -- 
‘ hood ? O wo ^to him, who flees from his be- 

* loved ! . . 

22. * Have pity at length on my afflided 
‘ heart, which feeks relief and cannot obtain 


Each couplet of the original confifts of two 
Dimeter Limbicks^ and muft be read in the 
proper cadence. 


As a fpecimen of the old Perjian language and 
charader, I fubjoin a very curious palTage 
from the Zend^ whi^^h was communicated to 
me by Bauman the fon of'BAHRAM, a na- 
tive of Tezdy and; as his name indicates, a 
Pdrs't : he wrote the paflfage from memory j 
Once his books ui Pablavi and Deri, are not 


yet brought to Bengal. I It is a fuppofed an- 
fwer of I'zAD or Qop to Zera'htusht, 
who had afked by what means mankind could 
attain happinefs. 

Az pid u mad che ce pid u mad Jie khojhnud 
Fid bargiz bihijht ne vimd', be jdyi cirfab bizah 
vintd: mehdn rd be dzarm nic ddnd, cehdn rd be 
hich gunah maydzdrid : aj khijlmvendi dervijl} 
nang meddrid : ddd u venddd i khdliki yedid bch 
car ddrid ; az rijtdkhizi ten padn endijheh ne- 
mdy'id ; mabddd ce ajhii ten khijh ra duzakhi cu- 
riid, va dnche be khijhten najbdkad be cajdn ma- 
pajendid va ma cun'td : hercbc. be. git) cunid be 
mainii az ai'ieh pazirab dyed *. 

A Verbal Tranflation. 

“ If you do that with which your father and 
mother are not pleafcd, you (hall never fee 
heaven; inftead of good fpirits, you flxa'l fee evil 
beings : behave with honcfty and with refpe£l 
to the great ; and on no account injure the 
mean : hold not your poor relations a rcpi'oach 
to you : imitate the juftice and goodnefs of the 
Only Creator: meditat*^ on the refurreSion of 
the future body) left you make your fouls and 
bodies the inhabitant's of hell ; and whatever 

• Plate VII. The Zend Letters are in Plate IH. 

/ o/ / /Kf. ‘ioih 

v, » 


— ^ I * ^ 

• • 


Q * i f * 1 1 * 

‘ U * RU 

— vv. *i.j_3!2lJ 

‘I t»^*i ♦ ^«iJ 

— ♦ uOU^ 

ii * fff OcrUL^ f • Utik^ 

r-^ ^ W=> <1 ‘ 



would be unpleafmg- to. yourfelves, think not 
that plcafmg to others^ ar,d do it not : whatever 
good you do on earth,' for that you fliall receive a 
retribution in heaven.” 

It will, perhaps, be fufpeded (and the language 
itfelf mayconlirinthefufpicion), that thisdodlrine 
has been taken from a religion very different 
both in age and authority, from that of Zera'h- 


The follownng ftory in modern Perjian was 
given to me by Mirza AbduTrahhi'm of 
Isfahan : it "feems extraded frooi one of the 
many poems on the loves of Mejnu'n and 
Laie i, the Romeo and Joliet of the Eaft. 
Each verfe confifts of a Cretick foot followed 
by two t Cboriambif or a tboriambus and a 




te, JC'^ 

5U< jy 
jy jy ^iLv. 




yj , 

I./ <-^AA.*l^ 





if 0^3 

r^). j4'\Sy*^ 

C/>/y 0;^J> ^Cf 
(J^ ->3 wClt V^tjsliy 





yl }j, jXJ^> f^_,) ;/* 


uT ;j 

^/■J5 L. Ir wCj I /J'/' 

|<> -^u'^ 0^ 

*1/ w-^.j»yl JJ 

cbo-C ( ;iy ^ 

(/y^ f/j 

•• •• 

lii \S^j-.-^\j 

» . ** 


pr^ 1^ '^JuJP’fy} 

c/_l,r.,^ (/Ki^ 


" "N 



Shtrmajli feri pijtgni diem 
perverejh ydjtehi ddmeni gbem 

dbi rang o rokhi laiUyi jonun 
kbdli rokbfdrcbi hdmun Mcjm'ui 

ydji cbm rdb hi cdpdncbi ifik 
djildn Jhiid bideri khundn ifik 

her fereJJ} fiakbsi jonm Jdyahjicaml 
kih’ebi ddjbiki djb gafit boland 

der and) ber t'araf t gbaughd Jhiid 
nakli u nokli inrjdlis-bd Jhud 

hud dmiri bidrab vdld fom 
sahihi micnat b fervat * bijcbdn 

lore Uizi gbemi bcjrdn didab 
pur guU ddgbi mob'ahbat chidab 

didab d'er tifliyi khbd si'izi ferdk 
talkbiyi z<%hri ferdk efi bimezdk 

ydft cbim kis's'ebi dn derd figal 
card jerrndn bigbiddmi der liul 

ceb siiyi najd kadam Jdz zijer. 

Jljau beb tdjil r avail cbim s'eiscr 

dn ceb dil bordab zi Mejniin bi nigab 
heb berem zud biydver bemrdb. 

raft b dxwd gbuldmac der b'dl 
Laili dn pddiJiJabi midci jenuil 

* The reader will fiipply the point over /, when it fta 
for ii. 



beh gbularnt digarejh Jlmd fermdn 
ceh to hem JJjau bi suyi dajht ravdn 

janibi zinati drbdhi jonun 
Jbemi pur ni'iri mob'abbat 'Mejniin 

ziid aver herein dn sukbtab rd 
(in jigarmzi gbem dndukhtab rd 

raft 0 bergaJJji ghuldmac chu nigdh 
vdliyi cifivari iJJjkeJh hemrdh 

card lira chu nazar niardi amir 
did zdr '/ hi gbemi ijl'h dsir 

her fereJJj fiahbs i jonhn cardah vat'en 
zjkbnti bejrcin bi teiic.p} piraben 

milyi fer ber.bcdfnejh gajblah kobd 

muzab dz dbilahi pd her pa 

• • 

Jljdnab dz kbari mughildn her miijfi 
khirkab dz rigi biydhdn her auJJj 

goft edi gomJJ.Hidabi vddiyi gbem 
bich kbzodbi ceb' ttmenndl debem 

ferferdzat cunam dz micnat 6 jdb 
Lain drem biberet khdt'er kbvedb 

goft rit n't ceb baiideji batid 
zerreh rd hem nazari bd khoi Jhid 

goft kbwdhi ceb com rdjt higii 
fairi dn s'afb'abi rokhfdri nicu 
yd neddri bijemdlejh n^aiU 
rdjl berguyi bi jdni Lail't 



gqft cat kodvahi drbdbi cerem 
zerrabi kbdci deret tdji ferem 

her dilem derd zi Laili cdfiji 
kbwdbejhi va^l zi bi infdfljl 

balm kborfendiyi in jozvi h'akir 
has buvad pertavi dz mibri monir 

goft 0 gardid siiy) dajht ravdn 
didab girydn 6 mizbab djl^cfipdii 

The Tranflation. 

1 . Tbe man, wbo bad Inebriated hlinfelf with 
inllk from the nipple of Anguifli, who had been 
nouriflied in the lap of Affliftion, 

2. Mejnu'n, mad with the bright hue and 
fair face of Laili, himfelf a dark mole on the 
cheek of the defert> 

3. Having found the way to the manfion of 
love, became fxed like the threlhold on the 
door of love’s palace. 

4. Over his head the form of Madnefs had 
caft her ftiadow : the tale of his .paffion was 
loudly celebrated. 

5. Among the Arabs a tumult arofe on all 
fides : the relation of his adventures was a deflert 
in their alTemblies. • 

6. A powerful Prince reigned in Arabia, pof* 
fefling worldly magnificence and riches : 


7. He had feen the depredations of Grief 
through abfence from a beloved objed ; he had 
plucked many a blackrfpotted flower from the 
garden of \oyQ. 

8. Even in his infancy he had felt the pain of 
feparation: the bitter tafte of that poifon re- 
mained on his palate. 

9. When he learned the ftory of that afflided 
lover, he inftantly gave an order to a flave, 

10. Saying, ‘ Make thy head like thy feet in 
‘ running towards Najd go with celerity, like a 
‘ violent wind : 

1 1 . ‘ Bring fpeedily with thee to my prefence 
‘ Her, who has* ftolen the heart of MEjNu'if 

* with a glance.’ 

12. The ftripling ran, and in a fliort time 
brought Laili, that Emprefs iu the dominion 
of beauty. • 

13. To another flave the Prince gave this 
order : ‘ Run thou alfo into the defert, 

14. Go to that ornament of frantick lovers, 

* Mejnu^n, the illumined taper of love. 

15. ‘ Bring quickly before me that inflamed 

‘youth, that heart-confumed anguifh-pierced 
‘ lover.’ . • 

16. The boy went, andeeturned, in the twink- 
ling of an eye, accompanied by the ruler in the 
territories of love. 



17 . When the Prince looked at him, he 
' • » « 

beheld a wretch in bondage to the mifery of 

18. Madnfefs had fixed her abode on this 
head : he was clothed, as with a veft, with the 
wounds of reparation. 

19. His locks flowed, like a mantle, over his 
body : his only fandal was the callus of his feet. 

20. In his hair ftuck a comb of Arabian 
thorns : a robe of fand from the defert covered 
his back. 

21. ‘ O THOU, faid the VrincCy v^ho hast been 

* loft in the valley of forrow ; doft thou not wilh 

* me to give thee the object of thy paflion, 

22. ‘ To exalt thee with dignity and power, 

‘ to bring Laili before thee gratifying thy foul?’ 

23. ‘ No, -ncfj anfwered he, far, far is it from 

* my wilh, that an atom Ihould be leen together 

* with the fun.’ 

24. ‘ Speak truly, replied the Prince, art thou 
‘ not willing to recreate thyfelf on. the fmooth 

* plain of that beautiful cheek ? 

25. ‘ Or haft thou-no inclination to enjoy her 
‘ charms ? I adjure thee, by the foul of Laili, 

* to declare the truth !’ 

26. He rejoined : ‘ O chief of men with 
‘generous hearts, a particle of duft from thy 
‘ gate is a diadem on my head. 

ofp AStAtTdt w<mis6. as 

27. * The pain of my love for LailI is fufr 

* ficient for my heart : k vriih to enjoy her pr&> 

* fence tijus would be injullice. 

28. * To gratify this contemptible foal of 

* mine, a fingle ray from that bright luminary 

* would be enough.’ 

29. He fpake, and ran towards the ddert, 
his eye weeping,, and his eye-laflies raining tears. 

Thefe couplets would fully anfwer the pur- 
pofe of fh owing the method, in which Perjiaft 
may be written according to the original cha- 
racters, with fome regard alfo to the Isjabdni 
pronunciation ; but, finee a very ingenious ar- 
tift, named Mohammkd Ghau'th, has en- 
graved a tetrailich on copper, as a fpecimen of 
his art, and fince no moveable types can equal 
the beauty of Perjian writing, I annex his plate*, 
and add the four lines, which lie has feleCted, in 
Engiyb letters : they are too eafy to require a 
tranflation, and too infignificant to deferve it. 

Huwal dztx 

Cajhmi ter ah' bum zi to ddr\m md 
keblah toyt rii beceh arrm md 
tdjati md dz td ber Syed temhn 
ddmenat dz cj ncguzdrim md. 

roL. I, 

• Plate VL 



Hie fifft i^cimen of Hindis that occurs AO, me, 
is a littlf Gbazal or' love-fong, in a Cbwiam- 
bick meafure, written by Gunn a' Beigom, 
Che wife of Gha ziu’|.|}iN Kh'an, a man of 
eonfummate abilities and confummate wicked- 
0^ who has borne an adive part in the mo* 
dern tranfaAions of Upper Hinduftan. 

Ic <J^^A zA 



Vi>7 1 pm Sei 

/ /Ij." y- ' 



/<.W^ .liXK. 



^ <Ui^f-\ z'’. 

(\- /»»% ylK ^ . 




y y^ 

>) .<^ j ^it' 



Z^ z' •" l"^ ■• z^. 

, «4 <^1 ^ 





(jr(p^ \S^'^ 

Muddait heme fokban fdz bi fdlus) hdi 
ab Uimenna c 'o yehhi muzhedei mayusi hdi 
dh ab cafrati ddghi ghemi kbubdn se temdm 
s'ajh'di sinah mkajilzva'i t'dus) hat 

hat meii t'arah' jigar hiuni terii muddaUe 

at b inna cijci tnjbe khwdbijbi pdbusi hat 
• • • 

dzvazi derd meze se xvab bbere bain sure 

jis lehi zakbam ne JhemJbiri text cbusl bal 

tobmati ifbk abas carte bain mujbper Minnat 
hdn yeb Jecb milne ci kbubdn se tu tuc kbusi bat. 

The Tranflation. 

1. My beloved foe fpeaks of me with diffi- 
mulation ; and now the tidings of defpair are 
brought hither to the defiire of my foul. 

2. Alas, that the fmooth furface of my bofora, 
through the marks of burning in the fad ab- 
fence of lovely youths, is tccome like the plum- 
age of a peacock. 


3. Like me, O Henna (the fragi^t and ele- 
gant ihrub, with rixe leaves of which the Hails of 
Arabian women are dyed crimfhn), thy heart 
has long been full of blood: whofe foot art 
thou denrous of killing ? 

4. Inllead of pain, my beloved, every wound 
from tljy cimeter fucks with its lips the fweet- 
nefs, with which it is filled. 

5. The fufpicion of love is vainly caft on 
Min NAT— Yes; true it is, that my nature rather 
leads me to the company of beautiful youths. 

Thus have I explained, by obfervations and 
examples, my method of noting in Roman letters 
the principal languages of Afia ; nor can I doubt, 
that Armenian, TurkiJJj, and the various dialers 
of Tartary, may be expreffed in the fame man- 
ner with equal advantage ; but, as Cbinefe words 
are not written in alphabetical chalraders, it is 
obvious, that they tnuft be noted according to 
the beft prommciation ufed in China j which has, 

I imagine, few founds incapable of being ren- 
dered by the fymbols tded in dds efiay. 


written in 1784 , AND SINCE REVISED. 



W E cannot juftly conclude, by arguments pre- 
ceding the proof of fadts, that one idolatrous 
people muft have borrowed their deities, rites, 
and tenets from another; fince Gods of all 
fliapes and dimehfions may be framed by the 
boundlefs powers of imagination, or by the 
frauds and follies of men, ii/ countries never 
conneded but, when features of refemblance, 
too ftrong to have been accidental, are obfervable 
in different fyftems of polytheifm, without fancy 
or prejudice to colour them and improve the 
likenefs, we can fcarce help believing, that fome 
connection has immemorially fubfifted between 
the feveral nations, who have adopted them ; it 
is my defign in this elfay, to poijit out fuch a 
refemblance between the popular worfliip of the 
old Greeks and Italians and that of the Hindus ; 
nor can there be room to doubt of a great fimi* 



larky between their llrange religions and that of 
Egypt^ China, Perfia, Phrygia, Phoenice, Syria ; 
to which, perhaps, we may fafely add fome of 
the fouthern kingdoms and even Iflands of 
rica ; while the Gothick fyftem, which prevailed 
in the northern regions of Europe, was not 
merely fimilar to thofe of Greece and Italy, but 
almoft the fame in another drefs with an em- 
broidery of images apparently Jijiatick, From 
all this, if it be fatisfaftorily proved, we may 
infer a general union or affinity between the 
mo ft diftinguiflied inhabitants of the primitive 
world, at the time when they deviated, as they 
did too early deviate, from the rational adoration 
of the only true God. 

There feem to have been four principal fources 
of all mythology. I. Hiftorical, or natural, 
truth has beeil perverted into fable by^ ignorance, 
imagination, flattery, or ftupidity ; as a king of 
Crete, whofe tomb had been difcovered in that 
ifland, was conceived to have been the God of 
Olympus, and Minos, a legiflator of that country, 
to have been his fon, and to hold a fupreme 
appellate jurifdiction over departed fouls ; hence 
too probably flowed the tale of Cadmus, as 
Bochart learnedly traces itj hence beacons or 
volcanos became one-eyed giants and monfters 
vomiting flames ; and two rocks, from their ap- 
ptttiance to mariners in certain pofitions, were 


821 • 

fuppofed to crulh all vtflTels attempting to pidt 
between them; of vyhifh idle fidions many 
other inftances might be collefted from the 
Odyjfey and the vaxiom ’ Ar^onautick poems. 
The lefs we fay of Julian liars, deifications of 
princes or warriours, altars raifed, with thofe of 
Apoi-lo, to the bafeft of men, and divine titles 
beftowed on fuch wretches as Cajus Octa- 
VI AN us, the lefs we lhall expofe the infamy of 
grave fenators and fine poets, or the brutal folly 
of the low multitude: but we may be aflfured, 
that the mad apotheofis of tnily great men, or of 
little men falfely called great, has been the origin 
of grofs idolatrous errors in every part of the 
pagan world. II. The next fource of them 
appears to have been a wild admiration of the 
heavenly bodies, and, after a time, the fyftems 
and calculations of Allronomers : heiice came a 
confiderable portion of Egyptian and Grecian 
fable ; the Sabian worlhip in Arabia ; the Perjian 
types and emblems of Mibr or the fun, and the 
far extended adoration of the elements and the 
powers of nature ; and hence perhaps, all the 
artificial Chronology of the Chinefe and Indians ^ 
with the invention of demigods and heroes to 
fill the vacant niches in tljeir extravagant and 
imaginary periods. III., Niimberlefs divinities 
have been created folely by the magick of poe- 
try ; whofe eflential bufinefs it is, to perfonify 

on the cods of GREECE, 

the mod »bftra<d notions, and to place t nymph 
a genius in every grove and almoft in every 
llower: hence Hygida and yafo, health and 
remedy, aie the poetical daughters of ^^scula- 
Pius, who was either a diftinguilhed phyfician, 
pr medical fkill perfonified ; and hence - • o/ r, 
or verdure, is married to the Zephyr. IV. The 
metaphors and allegories of moralifts and meta- 
phyficians have been alfo very fertile in Deities; 
of which a thoufand examples might be adduced 
d*om Plato, Cicero, and the inventive com- 
mentators on Homkr in their pedigrees of the 
Gods, and their fabulous leffbns of morality: 
the richeft and nobleft ftream from this . bun- 
dant fountain is the charming philofopliical tale 
of Psyche, or the Progrejs oj the SquI-, than 
which, to my tafte, a more beautiful, fublime, 
and well Supported allegory was never produced 
by the wifdom and ingenuity of man. Hence 
alfq the InfAian Ma ya, as the word is ex-» 
plained by fome Hindu fcholaxs, “the firft in- 
clination of the Godhead to diverfify himfclf 
(fuch is their phrafe) by creating worlds,” is 
feigned tP be the mother of univerfal nature, 
and of jdl the inferiour Gods ; fis a Cajhmiridn 
l iformed me> when I alked him, why Ca'ma, 
or wa^s reprefented as her fon ; but the 

yiord Mava', or delufian^ has a more fubtile 
And recon^te ienfe in the Vedanta philofophy, 


^23 , 

■where it fignifies the fyftein oi perceptions, whe- 
ther of fecondary or of primary qualities, which 
the Deity was believed by i- pi c haRmus, Pla- 
to, and many truly pious ‘men, to raife by his 
omniprefent fpirit in the minds of his creatures, 
but which had not, in their opinion, any cxift- 
ence independent of mind. 

In drawing a parallel between the Gods of 
the Indian and Eut opean heathens, from what- 
ever fource they were- derived, I fhall remember, 
that nothing is lefs favourable to enquiries after 
truth than a fyileinatical fpirit, and fliall call to 
mind the faying of a Hindu writer, “ that who- 
‘‘ ever obftinat.ely adheres to any fet of opinions, 
may bring himfelf to believe that the freflieft 
“ fandal wood is a flame of fire this will 
effedually prevent me from infilling, that fuch 
a God of India was the of Greece ; fuch, 

t/je Apollo; fuch, the Mercury : in fa£l, fince 
all the caufes of polytheifm contributed largely 
to the aflcmblage of Grecian divinities (though 
Bacon reduces them all to refined allegories, 
and Newton to a poetical difguife of true 
hiftory), we find many Joves, many Apollo?, 
many Mercuries, with diftindl attributes and 
capacities ; nor fhall I prefume to.fuggeft more, 
than that, in one capacity pjr another, there exiils 
9 ftriking fimilitude - between the chief objects 
(of worfhip in ancient Greece or Italy and in the 


very interefting countiy, which we now in- 

The comparifon, which I proceed to lay 
before you, muft needs be very fuperficial, partly 
from my fhort relidence in Hindujtan, partly 
from my want of complete leifure for literary 
amufements, but principally becaufe I have no 
Kuropem book, to refrelli my memory of old 
fables, except the conceited, though not unlearn- 
ed, work of PoMi Y, entitled the Vantheon, and 
that fo miferably^ tranflated, that it can hardly 
be read with patience. A thoufand more llrokes 
of refemblance might, I am fure, be colleiled by 
any, who fhould with that view perufe Hesiod, 
Hyginus, Cornu tus, and the other mytho- 
logifls ; or, which would be a Ihorter and a 
plcafanter way, fhould be fatisfied with the very 
elegant Syntagmata oi hihivs Gira^-dus. 

Difqnifitlons concerning the manners and con- 
dud of our fpecies in early times, or indeed at 
any time, are always curious at leaft and amuf* 
ing ; but they are highly interefting to fuch, as 
can fay of themfelves with Chrf.mks in the 
play, “ We are men, and take an intereft in all 
** fhat relates to mankind They may even be 
of folid importance in an age, when fome in- 
telligent and virtuous perfons are inclined to 
doubt the authenticity of the accounts, delivered 
by Moses, concealing the primitive world; 



imce no modes or fourccs of reafoning can be 
unimportant, which have a tendency to remove 
fuch doubts. Either the firft eleven chapters of 
Genejis, all due allowances being made for a 
figurative Eaftern ftyle, are true, or the whole 
fabrick of our national religion is falfe ; a con- 
clufion, which none of us, I truft, would wifli to 
be drawn. I, who cannot help believing the 
divinity-of the Messiah, from the undifputed 
antiquity and manifeft completion of many 
prophefies, efpecially thofe of Isaiah, in the 
only perfon recorded by hiftory, to whom they 
are applicable, am obliged of courfc to believe 
the fandtity of the venerable books, to which 
that I'acred perfon refers as genuine ; but it is 
not the truth of our national religion, as fuch, 
that I have at heart : it is truth itfelf ; and, if 
any cool unbiafled reafoner wilf clearly convince 
me, that Moses drew his narrative through 
Egyptian condiiits from the primeval fountains 
of Indian literature, I fhall efteem him as a 
friend for having weeded my mind from a ca- 
pital error, and promife to Hand among the 
foremoft inaflilting to circulate the truth, which 
he has afeertained. After fuch a declaration', 
I cannot but perfuade myfelf, that no candid 
man will be difpleafed, i^.in the courfe of my 
work, I make as free'with any arguments, that 
he may have advanced, as I Ihould really defirc 



him to do with any of jnine, that he may be dif* 
pofed to controvert. Having no fyftem of my 
own to maintain, I fhall not purfue a very re- 
gular method, but fhall take all the Gods, of 
whom I difcourfe, as they happen, to prefent 
themfelves ; beginning, however, like the Ro~ 
mans and the Hindus, with Janu or Gane'sa. 

The titles and attributes of this old Italian 
deity are fully comprized in two choriambick 
verfes of SuLPiTius; and a farther account of 
him from Ovid would here be fuperfluous; 

Jane pater, Jane turns, dive biceps, blformis, 

O cate rerum fator, O principium deorum ! 

** Father Janus, all- beholding Janus, thou 

divinity with two heads, and with two forms ; 
** O fagacious planter of all things, and leader 
“ of deities !” ‘ 

He was the God, we fee, of fFifdom-, whence 
he is reprefented on coins with two, and, on the 
Hetrufean image found at Falifci, with four, 
faces ; emblems of prudence and circumfpeilion ; 
thus is Gane'sa, the God of Wifdom in £f/«- 
dujian, painted with an Elephant’s head, the 
fymbol of fagacious difeernment, and attended 
by a favourite rat, which the hidiatis conlider as 
a wife and provident animal. His next great 
chara6ter (the plentiful fource of many fuper- 
fUtiot|il ufages) was that, from which he is em- 



phatically ftyled the father^ and which the fecond 
verfe before-cited more fully exprefles, the origin 
and fcntnder of all things: whence this notion 
arofe, unlefs from a tradition that he firft built 
fhrines, raifed altars, and inftituted facrifices, it 
is not eafy to conjecture ; hence it came how- 
ever, that his name was invoked before any 
other God ; that, in the old facred rites, com 
and wine, and, in later times, incenfe alfo, Avere 
firft offered to Janu-s ; that the doprs or en- 
trames to private houfes were galled yanuce, 
and any pervious paffage or thorough-fare, in 
the plural number, Jani^ or xvith two btgin-‘ 
flings ; that he .was, reprefented holding a rod as 
guardian of ways, and a key, as opening, not 
gates only, but all important tvorks and affairs of 
mankind j that he was thought to prefide over 
the morning^ or beginning of da^ ; that, although 
the Roman year began regularly with Marcb^ 
yet the eleventh, month, named famarius^ was 
confidered as JirJi of the twelve, whence the 
whole year was fuppofed to be under his guid* 
ance, and opened with great folemnity by the 
confals inaugurated in his fane, where his ftatue 
was decorated on that occafion with frefh laurel-; 
and, for the fame reafon, a fokmn .denunciation 
of Wat, than which diete.can hardly be a more 
momentous national was made by the mi». 
coup’s opening the gates of his templf 


with all the pomp of his magiftracy. The twelve 
altars and twelve chapels of Janus might cither 
denote, according to the general opinion, that 
he leads and governs twelve mpnths, or that, as 
he fays of himfelf in Ovid, all entrance and 
accefs mull be made through him to the prin- 
cipal Gods, who were, to a proverb, of the fame 
number. We may add, that Ja nus was imagin- 
ed to prefide over infants at their birth, or the 
beginning of life. 

The Indian divinity has prccifely the fame 
charadfer : all facirifices and religious ceremonies, 
all addrefles even to fuperiour Gods, all ferious 
compofitions in writing, and all worldly affairs 
of moment, are begun by pious Hindus with an 
invocation of Gane'sa; a word compofed of 
ifa^ the governor or leader, and gana, or a com- 
pany of deities, nine of which companies are enu- 
merated in the Amarcojh. Inftances of opening 
bufinefs aufpicioufly by an ejaculation to the 
Janus of India (if the lines of refemblance here 
traced will juftify me in fo calling him) might 
be multiplied with cafe. Few books are begun 
without the words falutation to Gane's, and he 
is firft invoked by the BrdbmanSy who condudt 
the trial by ordeal, or perform the ceremony of 
the homa^ or facrifict to fire: M. Sonnerat 
reprefents him as highly revered on the Coaft 
qf Coromandel ; ** where the Indians^ he fays. 



“ would not on any account build a houfe, with- 
“ out having placed on the ground an image ot‘ 
“ this deity, which they fprinklc with oil and 
adorn every day with flow.ers ; they let up his 
figure in all their temples, in the ftreets, in the 
“ higlfroads^ and in open plains at the’ foot of 
“ fome tree j fo that perfons of all ranks may in- 
“ voke him, before they undertake any bufinefs, 
and travellers worfliip him, before they ^o-* 
“ ceed on their journey.” To this I ^ay add, 
from my own obfervation, that m . the com- 
modious and ufeful town, which now rifes at 
Dbarm^anya or Gayd, under the aufpices of the 
a£live and benevolent Thomas Law, Efq. col- 
ledior of Rotas^ every new-built houfe, agree- 
ably to an immemorial ufage of the Hindus, has 
the name of Gane'sa fuperferibed on its door; 
and, in the^jold town, his image is. placed over 
the gates “bf the temples. 

^We come now to Saturn, the oldeft of the 
pagan Gods, of whofe office and adions much is 
recorded. The jargon of his being the fon of 
Earth and of Heaven, who was the fon of the 
Sky and the Day, is purely a confeffion of ig- 
norance, who were his parents or who his pre- 
deceflbrs ; and there appears more fenfe in the 
tradition faid to be mentioned by the inquifitive 
and well informed Rlato, “ that both Sa- 
** TURN or timey and' his confort Cybele, or 



the Earthy together with their attendants, were 
** the children of Ocean and Thetis, or, in lefs 
** poetical language, fj^rahg from the waters of the 
•* great deep.’* Crres, the goddefs of harvefts, 
was, it feems, their daughter; and Virgil de- 
fcribes “ the mother and nuffe of all as crown- 
“ ed with turrets, in a car drawn by lions, and 
** exulting in her hundred grandfons, all divine, 
■“-all inhabiting fplendid celeftial manfions.” As 
the God^of time, or rather as time itfelf per- 
fonified, Saturn was ufually painted by the 
heathens holding a fcythe in one hand, and, in 
the other, a fnake with its tail in its mouth, the 
fymbol of perpetual cycles and revolutions of 
ages : he was often reprefented in the a£t of de- 
vouring years, in the form of children, and, 
fometimes, encircled by the feafons appearing 
like boys and '’girls. By the Laiijis he was 
named Saturnus ; and themoft ihgenioys ety- 
mology of that word is given by Festus 'ihe 
grammarian ; who traces it, by a learned analogy 
to many fimilar names, a Jatu, from planting, 
becaufe, when he reigned in Italy, he introduced 
and improved agriculture : but his. diftinguilh- 
ing character, which explains, indeed, all his 
other titles, and fundfions, was expreffed alle- 
gorically by the fteto of a fliip or galley on the 
revitrfe of his ancieht coins ; for which Ovio 
afligns a very unfatisfadory reafon, “ becaufe 



the divine ftrangef aijived in a fliip on the 
“ Italian coaft as if he could have been ex- 
peifled on horfe-bacl^ or’ hovering through the 

The account, quoted by Pomey from Alex- 
ander Pe-LYHisTOR,. cafts a clearer light, if it 
really came from genuine antiquity, on the whole 
tale of Saturn; “that he predidied an ex- 


traordinary fall of rain, and ordcre^jdl^£<»n^ 
ftru£lion of a veflel, in which it wa^ neceflary 
to fecurc men, beafts, birds, and^ptilcs from 
a general inundation.” 

Now it foems not eafv to take a cool review 
of all thefe teftimonies concerning the birtli, 
kindred, offspring, character, occupations, and 
entire life of Sa I urn, without affenting to the 
opinion of Bochart, or admitting it at leaft to 
be highl^^robable, that the fable-was raifed on 
the tpi/ hiftory of Noah ; from whofe flood a 
period of time was computed, and a new 
feries of ages may be faid to have fprung ; who 
rofe frefli, and, as it were, newly born from the 
waves; whofe wife was in fa£t the univerfal 

mother, iqid, that the earth might fcon be re- 
peopled, was early bleffed with numerous and 
flouriftiing defeendants : if we produce, there- 
fore, an Indian king of divine birth, eminent for 
his piety and ben^fic^Hte, whofe ftory feems 
evidently to be tb&t 'of Noa h difguifed by Afia- 

VOL. I. 

A A 


tick fidliion, we may fjifely offer a conje<51:ure, 
that he was alfo the fame perfonage with Sa- 
turn. This was MfNUp or Satyavj</,ta, 
whofe pratronymick. name was Vaivasw a i ' a , 
or child of the Sun ; and whom the India'! . be- 
lieved to have reigned over the whole worlu in 
the earlieft age of their chronology, but to have 
redded in the country of Dravira^ on the coaft 
.Eaftcrn Indian Peninfula : the following 
narrative '’;>f the principal event in his life 1 liave 
literally tral'dated from the Bhagaval ; and it is 
the iubjedl of iiie firll Pnrdna, entitled that of 
the Matfya, or Fijh. 

* Defiring the prefervation of herds, and of 
‘ Brahmans, of genii and virtuous men, of the 
‘ Vedas, of law, and of precious things, the lord 
‘ of the unlvcrfc affumes many bodily fhapes ; 

* but, though h« pervades, like the-^ir, a va- 
‘ ricty of beings, yet he is himfeif unvaried, 

' fince he has no quality fubjedt to change. 
‘ At the clofe of the laft Catpa, there was a 
‘ general deftrudtion occafioned by the deep of 
‘ Brahma’; whence his creatures in. different 

* worlds were drowned in a vaft oceap. Br ah- 

* MA', being inclined to dumber, defiring repofe 
‘ aficr a lapfe of ages, the ftrong demon Haya- 
‘ ORt VA came near 'Jtim, and Hole the Vedas, 

* which had dowed from his I’ps- When HtRt, 

‘ the preferv^er of the univerie, difeovered this 



^ deed of the Prince o£ Danavas, he took the. 
‘ fliape of a rtiinute fifh, called fap’hur'i. A 
‘ holy king, named Satvavr ata, then reigned ; 
* a fervant of the fpirit, Which moved on the 
‘ waves, devout, that water was bis only 
‘ fuftenanceT ♦ He was the child of the Sun, 

‘ and, in the prefent Calpa, is inverted by Na- 
‘ ra'yan in the office of Menu, by the name of 

‘ Sra'ddh ade'v A, or the Ood of 
* One day, as he was lyiaking a libati^ in the 
‘ river Cntamdld, and held water .i^^he palm 
‘ of his hand, he perceived a fmall firti moving 

‘ in it. The kir^ of Dravira immediately 
* dropped the^^fflh into the river together with 
‘ the water, which he had taken from it ; when 

‘ the fap’bari thus pathetically adclrefled the be- 
‘ nevolent monarch: “ How canrt thou, O 
“ king, wh-o'^fhoweft affetrtion to the opprefled, 
lea^ me in this Hver-water, where I am too 
“»weak to refirt the monrters of the rtream. 

“ who fill me with dread ?” He, not knowing 
* who had artumed the form of a fifh, applied 
‘ his nrind to the prefervation of the fap'hari, 

‘ both fromf.good nature and from reg^fird to his 
‘ Own foul ; and, having heard its very fuppliant, 
addrefs, h^ kindly placed it under his pro- 
‘ tedfion \vf a fmall vafe fulbof water ; but, in a 
fingle night, its bujik to increafed, that it 
' could not be coiitfained in the jar, and thus 

A A a 


* again addre/Ted the -illuftrions Prince : "lam 
" not pleafed with living miferably in this little 
" vafe ; make me a large manfion, where I may 
“ dwell in comfort.” The king, removing it 

* thence, placed it in the water of a ciftern ; but 
‘it grew three cubits in lefs thanlffitty minutes, 

* and faid : “ O king, it pleafes me not to flay 
" vainly in this narrow ciftern : lince thou haft 

me an afylum, give me a fpacious 
habitation.” He then removed it, and placed 
‘ it in a where, having ample fpace around 

* its body, it became a ftfli of confiderable fizc. 
" I'his abode, O king, is n^t convenient for me, 
“ who muft fwim at large in th'd waters ; exert 
“ thyfelf for my fafety ; and remove me to a 
" deep lake Thus addreft'ed, the pious mo- 
‘ narc'u threw the fuppliant into a lake, and, 
‘ when it gveW of equal bulk witlithat piece of 
‘ water, lie caft the vaft filh into the feaV* When 
‘ the fiOi was throwm into the waves, he tltus 
‘again Ipoke to Satyavrata: “here the 
“ horned fliarks, and other monfters of great 
“ ftrength will devour me ; thou fl.ouldft not, 
“ O valiant man, leave me in this o/fean.” Thus 

. ‘ repeatedly deluded by the fifli, who had*^d- 
‘ dreiTod hijn with gentle words, the king faid : 
“ who art thou, that beguileft me in that aflumed 
“ fhape ? Never beftfrh have I feen or heard 
“ fo prodigious an inhabitant of the waters, who, 



like thee, haft filled ufr, in a fitigle day, a lake 
“ an hundred leagues in circumference. Surely, 
“ thou art Bhagavat, who appeared before 
‘‘ me; the great Heri, wh’ofe dwelling was on 
“ thc,\yaves; and who now, incompaffion to thy 
“ fervants, beareft the form of the natives of the 
“ deep. Salutation and praife to thee, O firft 
“ male, the lord, of creatidhjrdT prefervation, of 
“ deftrudtion ! Thou art the higlieft.(3.%’>^t 
“ fupremc ruler, of us thy adorers, w^o pioufly 
“ feck thee. All thy delufive dfifeents in this 
“ world give exiftence to various beings : yet i 
“ am anxious to ^now, for what caufc that ftiape 
“ has been .|ftlumed by thee. Let me not, O 
“ lotos-eyed, approacli in vain the feet of a 
“ deity, whofe perfed benevolence has been ex- 
“ tended to all; when thou haft thewn us to 
“ our amazement the appearante of other bodies 
“ n®'L in reality exifting, but fucceiliyely ex» 
'■' hibited.” The lord of the univerfc, lovnng 
‘ the pious man, who thus implored him, and 
‘ intending to preferve him from the , lea of de- 
‘ ftrudioi#, caufed by the depravity of the age, 

‘ thus told him how he v^as to ad. “ In feven 
^ “Says from the prefent time, O thou tamer of 
“ enemiesdthe three worlds will fie plunged in 
“ an oc^^^£h of death; b^,.in the raidft of the 
“ deftroying waves;' {Tl^arge veflel, fent by me 
“ for thy ufe, MU ftand before thee. Then 


**• (halt thou take all medicinal herbs, all the va- 
“ riety of feeds ; and, .accompanied by feven 
Saints, encircled by pairs of all brute animals, 
“ thou lhalt enter the fpacious ark and continue 
“ in it, fecure from the flood on one immenfe 
“ ocean without light, except the radiance of thy 
“ holy companions. When the Ihip (hall be 
“ agitated by an* ’impetuous wind, thou lhalt 
with a large fea-ferpent on my horn ; 
“ for I 'il^ll be near thee : drawing the velTel, 
“ with thc3*iirid thy attendants, I will remain on 
the ocean, O chief of men, until a night of 
“ Brahma' fhall be complately ended. Thou 
(halt then know my true grea^nefs, rightly 
*' named the fiipreme Godhead ; by my favour, 
“ all thy queftions (hall be anfwered, and thy 
“ mind abundantly inftrudted.” Heri, having 
‘ thus diredted the monarch, difappecred ; and 
‘ Satvavrata humbly waited for the time, 
‘ v/hich the ruler of our fenfes had appointed. 
‘ The pious king, having fcattered towards the 
‘ Eaft the pointed blades of the grafs darbba, and 
‘ turning his face towards the North ! fate me- 

* ditating on the feet of the God, who' had borne 
‘ the form of a filh. The fea, overwhelming ifg 

* fhores, deluged the whole earth and it was 
‘ foon perceived to &e augmented b^ Ihowers 

* from immenfe cloud^^.’, He, ftill meditating on 

* the command of Bhagavat, faw the velTel 



* advancing, and entered it with the chiefs -of 
‘ Brahmans, having carried into it the medicinal 
‘ creepers and conformed to the direftions of 
‘ Heri. The faints thus’ addrefled him : “O 
“.Jf’’’*T..ipeditate on Ce'sava ; who will, furely, 
“ deliver us* from this danger, and grant us prof- 
“ parity. ” The God, being invoked by the 
‘ monarch, appeared agam'^i<fin£t1y on the vaft 
‘ ocean in the form of a fi(h, blazing.iiirji’gdld, 

‘ extending a million of leagues, whrn one ftu- 

‘ pendous horn ; on which the ...Whig, as he had 
‘ before been commanded by Heri, tied the fhip 
‘ with a cable ma-de of a vaft ferpent, and, happy 

* in his pre^rvation, ftood praifing the deftroyer 
‘ of Madhu. When the monarch had finiflied 
‘ his hymi>, the primeval male. Bn ag a vat, 

‘ who watched for his fafety on the great ex- 
‘ panfe ot water, fpoke aloud *to his own divine 
^ efience, "pronouncing a facred Vurang, which 
‘ contained the rules of the Sane’ by a philofophy : 

‘ but it was an infinite myftery to be concealed 

* within ^hebr®afli.of Satyavrata ; who, fit- 
‘ ting in the veftel\^ith the faints, heard the 
‘principle of the foul, » the Eternal Being, pro- 
‘ claimed* by thq preferving power. Then Hejit, 

‘ rifing together with Brahma', from the de- 
‘ ftru^ve deluge, whiph, was abated, flew the 

* demon Haya.qrh<a, and recovered the facred 
? books. SatyXvrata, inftrudled in all divine 



‘ an4 liuman knowledge, was appointed in the 

* prefent Calpa, by the favour of Vishnu, the 

* fcventh Menu, furnamed,.VAivASWATA : but 
‘ the appearance of a'horned filh to the religious 
‘ monarch was Maya, or delufion ; and he, »rho 
‘ lhall devoutly hear this important allegorical 

* narrative, will be delivered from the bondage 

’"'"^Jfejifr.^itome of the firft Indian Hiftory, that 
is now exmnt, appears to me very curious and 
very imporrauU^for the ftory, though whim- 
fically dreffed up in the form of an allegory, 
feems to prove a primeval tradition in this coun- 
try of the univerjal deluge defcribed(-by Moses, 
and fixes confequently the when the genuine 
Hindu Chronology actually begins.- We find, 
it is true, in the Vtirdn^ from which the narrative 
is extracted, anotBer deluge which happened to- 
wards the clofe of the third age, when^'u.n- 
HIS3>’hir was labouring under the perfecution 
of his inveterate foe Duryoohan, and when 
Crishna, who had recently beicme -incarnate 
for the purpofe of fuccou'lng the pious and of 
deftroying the wicked, v as performing wonders 
in the country of Mat’ hard ; but the fecond flood' 
was merely local and intended only to. afiedl the 
people. of^iJ^raja : theyv^ it feems, had oflended 
lNPRA,4ltt God of the* &tmament, by their en- 
thuiiafliik adoration of the i^ronderful child, 


* 39 . 

who lifted up the moilntain Goverdhena, asf if 
“ it had been a flower, and, by Iheltering all the 
** herdfmen and Ihepherdefles from the ftorm, 
“ convinced Indr a of his* fupremacy.” That 
the Satva, ‘ or (if we may venture fo tp call it) 
the Satumuw, age was in truth the age of the 
general flood, w ill app ear from a clofe exa- 
mination of the ten Avatdr^, or Defcents, of the 
deity in his capacity of preferver ; fiace"8f ihe 
four, which are declared) to have ^ippened in 
the Satya yug^ the three jirji appaVently relate to 
fome ftupendous convulfion of our globe from, 
the fountains of the deep, and the fourth exhibits 
the miracul^s punifhment of pride and impiety: 
firft, as we have fhown, there was, in the opinion 
of the Hindus, an interpofition of Providence to 
preferve a .devout pcrfon and his family (for aH 
the Pandits agree, that his *wife, though not 
named, muft be underftood to have been faved 
with him) from an inundation, by which ^ the 
wicked were deftroyed j next, the power of the 
deity defc^jjdwR^Jie form of a Boar, the fymbol 
of ftfength, to draw uo and fupport on his talks 
th^(^hole earth, whicn had been funk beneath 
'^the ocean; thirdly, the fame power is repre- 
fented asia tortoife fuftaining the globe, which 
had beCn convulfed by the violent aflaults of de- 
mons, while the,.p<^ churned the fea with the 
, mountain Mandar, and forced it to difgorge the 



iacred things and animals, together with the 
water of life, which it jhad fwallowed : thcfe 
three ftories relate, I think, to the fame event, 
ihadowed by a moriil, a metaphyfical, and an 
agronomical, allegory ; and all three feem con- 
ne£led with the hieroglyphical fculp'tures of the 
pid Egyptians. The fourth Avatar was a lion 
iliuing from a buffl^-.g column of marble to de- 
»S&r^blafpheming monarch, who would other- 
wife have^ 
inaining fi 

jdeloge : the tliree, which are afcribed to the Tre- 
tdyugy when tyranny and irrelidon are faid to 
have been introduced, were ordained for the 
overthrow of Tyrants, or, their natural types. 
Giants with a thoufand arms formed for the moft 
cxtcnfive oppreflion j and, in the DzvJparyug, 
the incarnation df Crishxa was partly for a 
llmiiar purpofe, and partly with a view to thixi 
the ivorld of unjuft and impious men, who had 
multiplied in that age, and began to fwarm on 
the approach of the Caliyug, /ir^.the, age of con- 
tention and bafenefs. As«io Buddha, he leems 
to have been a reformer of the doctrines -epn- 
tained in the V edas ; and, though his' good n^ 
ture led him to cenfure thofe ancient hooks, be- 
caufe they enjoined facrifices of cattle, yet he is 
admitted as the ninth Afr<iw?reven by the Bf'dhr 
plans of Cdsi, and his praifes -are fung by the 

flain hi 

his religious fon j and of the re-r 
)t one has the leaft relation to a 


poet Jayade'va: his ‘charader is in many re- 
^e£ts very extraordinary ; but, as an account of 
it belongs rather to Hiftory than to Mythology, 
it is referved for another diflertation. The tenth 
Avatar, we are told, is yet to come,-,and is ex- 
pected to ' appear mounted (like the crowned 
conqueror in the Apocalyps) on a white horfe, 
with a cimeter blazing a comet to mow 
down all incorrigible and impenitent offenders, 
who fhall then be on eai^th. 

Thefe four Yugs have fo apparent an affinity 
with the Grecian and Roman ages, that one 
origin may be naturally affigned to both fyftems : 
the firft in. both is diftinguiflied as abound- 
ing in gold, though- S'a/ya mean truth And probity ^ 
which were found, if ever, in the times imme- 
diately following fo tremendous an exertion of 
the divine power as the deftfuCfioii of mankind 
by a general deluge ; the next is characterized 
by filver, and the third, by copper ; thou^ their 
ufual names allude to proportions imagined in 
each betwesjudee and virtue : the prefent, or 
earthen, age feems^aore properly diferiminated 
tl^ by iron, as in aVcient Europe ; fince that 
metal i^ not bafer or lefs ufeful, though more 
common in our times and confequently left 
precious, than coppery .while mere earth con- 
veys an idea foweft degradation. We 

may here obferve, that the true Hiftory of the 


World feems obviouflydivifible into four ages 
or periods ; which may, he called, firft, thte 
jyHuvian, or pureft age;. namely, the- times 
preceding the deluge*, and thofe fucceeding it 
till the introduftion of idolatry at Babel; 
next, the Patrimchal, or pure, age; in which, 
indeed, there were mighty hunters ofbeafts and 
of men, from the patriarchs in the family 

of Sem to. the fimiiltaneous eftablifliment of 
great Empires by the dlpfcendants of his brother 
Ha'm ; thirmy, the Mojaick, or lefs pure, age ; 
firom the legation of Moses, and during the time, 
when his ordinances were comparatively well- 
obferved and uncorrupted; laftly,the.^ro/>/!)^/ica/, 
or impure^ age, beginning with the vehement 
warnings given by the Prophets to apollate 
Kings and degenerate nations, but ftill fubfifting 
and to fubfift, UntH all genuine prophecies Ihall 
be fully accompliftied. The duration of the 
Hifto^ical ages muft needs be very unequal and 
difproportionate ; while that of the Indian Tugs 
is difpofed fo regularly and art'jicially, that it 
cannot be admitted as natiwul or probable : toen 
do not become reprobate/ in a geometrical y,fo- 
grefiion or at the termination of regular periods^ 
yet fo well-proportioned are the Tugs^ that even 
the length of human life is diminiflied, as they 
advance from an hundi^edStboufand years in a 
isbdecc^ ratio; and« as the number of principal 



Amtdrs in each decreafcs arithmetically from 
four, fo the number of years in each decreafes 
geometrically, and all 'together conftitute the 
extravagant fum of four million tHTree hundred 
and twenty thoufand yeafs, which . aggregate, 
multiplied- by feventy-one, is the period, in 
which every Menu is believed to prefide over 
the world. SucK olfi’e might conceive, 

would have fatisfied Archytas, the meqfurer 
of fea and earth and tbeymmherer of their fands^ 
or Archimedes, who invented a notation, that 
was capable of exprefling the number of them ; 
but the comprehenlive mind of an Indian Chro- 
nologift has ho limits ; and the reigns of fourteen 
Menus at*c only a.finglc day of Brahma', fifty 
of which days’ Lave elapfed, according to the 
Jlindt/s, from the time of tiic Creation : that all 
this puerility, as it lecins at* firft view, may be 
only an aftionomical riddle, and allude to the 
apparent revolution of the fixed ll;ars,'’oP*wUich 
the Brahmans made a myftery, I readily admit, 
and am even inclined to believe •, hut fo technical 
an*arra!i^ment deludes all idea of ferious 
iriAory. I am fenfibl\ how much thefc remarks 
ivill oSi^hd the warm advocates for an- 

tiquity j but we muft not facrifice truth to a 
bafe fear of giving offence ; that the Fedas were 
a<ffually written JbeJ^^rt? the flood, I lhall never 
believe j nor can we infer from the preceding 


ftory, that the learned Hindus believe it ; for the 
allegorical flumberof Brahma' and the theft of 
the facred boolis mean only, in Ampler language, 
that tbe human race, was become corrupt ; but that 
the VMas are very ancient, and far older than 
other Sanfcrit compofitions, I will venture to 
aflert from my own examination of them, and 
a comparifon of with that of the 
'Furdns and the Dberina Sdjtra. A fimilar com- 
parifon juftifies me in ^pronouncing, that the 
excellent law'^book afcribed to Swa yambhuva 
Menu, though not even pretended to have 
been written by him, is more ancient than the 
Bha GAVAT ; but that it was com|)ofed in the 
jfirft age of the world, the Brahmans Would find 
it hard to pcrfuade me ; and the date, which 
has been affigned to it, does not appear in 
either of the two cepies, which I pofiefs, or in 
any other, that has been collated folr me : in 
faif. thfe fuppofed date is comprized in a verfe, 
which flatly contradidls the w -rk itfelf ; for it 
tvas not Menu who compofe^the fyftem of 
law, by the command of Wi father Brah 
but a holy perfonage or dymigod, named B 
GU, who revealed to men what Mej^tu 
delivered at the_^ requeft of him and other faints 
or patriarchs. In the Mdnava Sdjtra, to con- 
clude this digrelfion, the m^^re is fo uniform 
and melodious, and the ftyle lb pwfeftly Sanfcrit, 


31 S 

OT polijhedy that the book muft be more modern 
than the fcriptures of* Mosrs, in which the 
fimplicity, or rather riakednefs, of the Hebrew 
dialedt, metre, and ftyle, muft convince every 
unbiafled man of their fuperior antiquity. 

I leave etymologifts, who decide evefry thing, 
to decide whether the word Menu, or, in the 
nominative cafe, Menus, has, any connexion 
with Minos, the Lawgiver, and fuppoftd fon 
of Jove: the Cretans, according to’ D iodorus 
of Sicily, ufed to feign, that moft pf the great 
then, who had been deified, in return for the 
benefits which they had conferred on mankind, 
were born in their ifland ; and hence a doubt 
may be raifecl, whether Minos was really a 
Cretan. The Indiati legiflator w^as the firft, 
not the feventh. Menu, or Satyavfata, 
whom I fdppofe to be the ^truRN of Italy e 
part of Sa^t urn’s characler, indeed, was that 
of a great lawgiver. 

Qui genus indocile ac dirperfum montibus altis 
Compofuit, li’jjrfaue dedit^ 

and, may fulped, ijjiat all the fourteen Me- 
•NUs are reducible to one, who was called Nuh 
by the Jrabs, and probably by the Hebrews, 
though we have difguifed his name by an im- 
proper pronunciation of jt.‘ Some near relation 
between the feveihru • Menu and the Grecian. 


Minos may be inferred from the fmgular cha- 
raQ:er of the Hindu God, Yam a, who was 
aUb a child of the ,Su'n, and thence named 
Vaivaswata ; he had too the fame title with 
his brother, Sra ddhade'va : another of his 
titles was Dhermara'ja, or King_ of JuJiicei 
and athirdjPiTRiPETi, or Lord of the Patriarchs; 
but he is chiefly diftinguidisdas judge of departed 
fouls ; for the Hindus believe, that, when a foul 
leaves its body, it immediately repairs to Yama- 
pur, or the city of Yam a, where it receives a 
juft fentence from him, and either afeends to 
Swerga^ or the firft heaven, or is driven down 
to Nmic, the region of ferpents,. or alTumes on 
earth the form of fomo animal, unlefs its offence 
had been fuch, that it ought to be condemned 
to a vegetable, or even to a mineral, prifon. 
Another of hisjtames is very remarkable: I 
mean that of Ga la, or time, the idea of which 
is in|i«iately blended with the charadters of Sa- 
turn and of Noah; for the name Cronos 
has a manifeft affinity with the word ebronos, 
and a learned follower of'-^JjnfSVncHT aflTures 
me, that, in the books jwhich the Behdtrt^ hold 
lacred, mention is made of an univerj^l infmda- 
tion, there named the deluge of Time. 

It having been occafionally obferved, that 
Ceres was the poetical daughter of Saturn, 
we cannot clofe this head' yiitliouc adding, that 


iKe Hindus alfo have their of Abmimc0^ 

whom they ufually call Lacshmi', and whom 
they conlider as the daughter (n<« of Menu, 
but) of Bhrigu, by whom the firft Code of 
facrcd ordinances was promulgated : (he is alfo 
named Pedma' and Camala' from the facred 
Lotos or Nympbcea ; but her moft remarkable 
name is Sri', or, in the firft cafe, Sri's, which 
has a refemblance to the haiin, and mean^ /or- 
tune or projperity. It may be contended, that, 
although Lacshmi' may be figuratively called 
the Ceres of Hindujlany yet any two or more 
idolatrous nations, who fubfifted by agriculture, 
might naturally conceive a Deity to prefide 
over their labours, without having the leaft in- 
tercourfe with eadh other; but no reafon ap- 
pears, why two nations fliould concur in fup- 
pofing that Deity to be a female v one at leaft 
of them wotfld be more likely to imagine, that 
the Earth was a Goddefs, and that the God of 
abundance rendered her fertile. Befides, in 
very ancient temples near Gaya, we fee images 
of Lacshmi^ with fiUl breafts and a cord twill- 
ed under her arm like born of plenty, which 
Ibok very rnuch like the old Grecian and Roman 
figures. of Ceres. 

The faible of Saturn having been thus ana- 
lyfed, let us proceed to »his dependents ; and 
begin, as the Poet .advifes, with Jupiter, whofe 

VOL. I. B B 


fupremacy, thunder, and Ubertinifm every boy 
learns from Ovid; while his great offices of 
Creator, Preferver, and Deftroyer, are not ge- 
nerally confidered .in the fyftems of European 
mythology. The Romans had, as we have be- 
fore obferved, many JupitERS, one of whom 
was only the Firmament pcrfonified, as Ennius 
clearly exprefles it : 

Afpice hoc’fublime candens, quern invocant omnes jovetn. 

This JuppTER orDiESPiTER is the IndianG^A 
of the vifible heavens, called Indra, or the 
King, and Divespbtir, or Lord of the Sky, 
who has alfo the charadteV of the Roman Ge- 
nius, or Chief of the good fpirlts; but moft 
of his epithets in Sanferit are the fame with 
thoffc of the Ennicm Jove. His confort is nam- 
ed Saciii';- his< celeftiaT city, ^mardvatii his 
palace, Viujayanta:^ his garden, }^andana\ f[SiS 
chief elephant, Airavat', \Cis charioteer, Ma^ 
n'ALi ; and his weapon, V^ra, or the thuada:- 
bolt: he is the regent of winds and 
and, though the Eall is peculiarly tinder Ijis care, 
yet his Olympus is Mepi, or the north pole alle- 
gorically repreiented as a mountain of gold arid 
gems. With all his power he is confidered as 
a fubordinate Deity, and far inferior to the 
Indian Triad, Brahma', Vishnu, and Ma- 
ha'devA or Siva, who are ‘three forms of one' 



and the fame Godhead : .thus the principal di-. 
vinity of the Greeks and Latins, whom they 
called Zeus and Jupiter; with irregular in- 
flexions Dios and Jo vis, was not merely Ful- 
minator, the Thunderer, but, like the deftroying 
power of India, Magnus Divus, Ultor, 
Genitor ; like the preferving power. Con- 
servator, Soter,’ Opitulus, Altor, Fu- 
min’ us, and, like the creating power, the Giver 
oj Life ; an attribute, which I mention here on 
the authority of Cornutus, a confummatc 
mailer of mythological learning. AVe are advifed 
by Plato himfelf to fearch for the roots of 
Greek words in fomc barbarous, that is, foreign, 
foil ; but. fuicfe I looi.. upon etymological con- 
jedlures as a weak’bafis for hillorical inquiries, 
1 hardly dare fuggeft, that Zev, Siv, and Jov, 
are the fame fyllable differently pronounced ; it 
mull, howevbr be admitted, that the Greeks 
having no palatial Jigma^ like that of the Indians^ 
might have exprelfed it by their zeta, and that 
the initial letters of zngon and jugum are (as the 
inllance proves) eafily interchangeable. 

Let us now defeend, from thefe general and 
introdudory remarks, to fome particular obferv- 
ations on the refemblance of Zeus or Jupiter 
* to the triple divinity Vishnu, Siva, Brahma'; 
for that is the order, in whkh they are exprelfed 
by the letters A, U, and M, which eoalefce and 

B B 2 



form the myftical wbrd O'M ; a word, which 
never efcapes the lips of a pifeus Hindu, who me- 
ditates on it in filence : whether the Egyptian ON, 
which is commonly fuppofed to mean the Sun, 
be the Sanjcrit monorfyllable, I leave others to 
determine. It mull always be remembered, that 
the learned Indians, as they are inftrufted by 
theu> own books, in truth acknowledge only 
One Supreme Being, whom they call Brahme, 
or THE GREAT ONE in thc neutcr gender; they 
believe his Eflence to be infinitely removed from 
the comprehenfion of any mind but his own j 
and they fuppofc him to manifeft his power by 
the operation of his divine fpirit, whom they 
name Vishnu, the Penmder, and Na'ra'yan, 
or Moving on the waters, both in the mafeuline 
gender, whence he is often denominated the 
Firft Male', and by this power they believe, that 
the whole order of nature is preferved and fup- 
■ported ; but the Veddntis, unable to form a dif- 
tinfl; idea of brute matter independent of mind, 
or to conceive that the work of Supreme Good- 
nefs was left a moment to itfelf, imagine that 
the Deity is ever prefent to his work, and con- 
ftantly fupports a feries of perceptions, which, 
in one fenfe, they call iUufory, though they can- 
not but admit the reality of all created forms, as 
far as the happrnefs of creatures can be affedled 
by them'. When they confider the divine power 


exerted in creating^ or in' giving exiftence to that 
which exifted not before, they call the deity 
Br AM a' in the mafeuline gender alfo j and, when 
they view him in the light of Dejiroyer^ or rather 
Changer of forms, they give him a Jthoufand 
names, of wdiich i^SA, or i'swara, Ru- 

DRA, Hara, SaMsot, and IvfAHADEVA or 
Maiie'sa, are the moft common. lirll 

operations of thefe three Vow£rs are varioufly 
deferibed in the different Tur ana's by a number 
of allegories, and from them we may 'deduce the 
Ionian Philofopliy of primeval water, the dodtrine 
of the Mundane Egg, and the veneration paid 
to the Nyrnphii’a, or Lotos, which was anciently 
revered in Egypt, it is at prefent in Hhidujtdn, 
Tibet, and Nepal: ihA^^betians are faid to em- 
belliih their temples and jdtars with it, and a na- 
tive of Nepal made proffratiorll before it on en- 
tering my ftudy, wherfi the fine pkint and beau- 
tiful flowers lay Mr. HolweT, 

in explaining Brahma' 

to be floating on a in the midft of 

ihe abyfs ; but it was manifeflly intended by a 
for a lotos-lea^ or for that of the ht>~ 
.^^^g-tree ; nor is th^ of pepper, known 

iSi^ei^al by the name -ot^^Edinhula, and on the 
oi MdeAae by that betd, held facred; m 
fie afferts, by the Jlincbts, cir oeceffarily cultivated 
under the infpe^oii of Brahmans » though, as 



the vines are tender, sU^e plantations df them 
are carefully fecured, and ought to be cultivated 
by a particular tribe of Siidras^ vpho are thence 
called TdmbuU's. 

That water was the primitive dement and 
firft work of the Creaiiv.e Povver, is the uniform 
opinion of the Indum Pl^dfophers.; but, as they 
give»fo particular {in account of the general de- 
luge and iof the Creation,' ft can never be admit- 
ted, that their whole fyftem arofe frdm traditions 
concerning the flood only, and muft appear in- 
dubitable, that their dodrine is in part borroweij 
from the opening of Birds'it or Genefis, than’ 
which a fublimer paflfage, from the firft word to 
the laft, never flowed or' w’ll flow from' any 
human pen : “ In the beginning God created the 
“ heavens and the earth.— *And the earth was 


void and wafte, and darknefs was on the face 
“ of the deep, and the fpirit of God moved upmi 
the face of the waters; and Goo faids L^ 
Light k*-and Light was.^’ The 
of this palTage is confiderably diminiftied fey tfte ' 
Indian paraphrafe of it, with' which MENtr,'^he 
fon of Brahma', begins his addrefs j:o the lages, 
who confulted him on the formation of thc^tifti- 
verfe: “ This world, fays he, was all darknefs, 

“ undifcernible, undiftinguilhable, altogethefens 
“ in a profound fleep ; till the fcll-exiftent in- 
vilibie God, making it manifeft with five elo- 



merits and other glorious forms, perfedly dlf- 
“ pelled the gloom. He, defiring to raife up 
“ various creatures by an emanation from his 
“ own glory, firft created the waters, and im- 
“ preffed them with I power of motion : by that 
“ power was produced a golden Egg, blazing 
like a thoufand funs, in which was born 
“ Brahma', felf-exifting, the great parent of all 
“ rational beings. The waters are called ndra, 
“ fince they are the plFspring of Nera (or I's- 
“ WARA ; and thence was Na'ra'yan A named, 
“ becaufe his firft ayana, or moving, was on 
** them. 

“ That wjiicii is, the invifible caufe, eter-- 
** nal, felf-exifting, but unperceived, becoming 
“ raafeulineyroOT neuter, is celebrated among all 
“creatures by the name of Bisaiima. That 
“ God, having dwelled in the'Egg, through re- 
“ volving years, Himfelf meditating on Himfelf, 
“ divided it into two equal parts ; and from. 
“ thofe halves formed the heavens and the earth, 
placing in the raidft the fubtil ether, the eight 
points ofthe world, and the permanent recep- 
“ tacle of waters.” 

^ To this curious deftription, with which the 
Mdnava Sdjlra begins, I cannot jefrain from 
fubjoining the four verfes, which are the text of 
the Bbdgavat, and are b,elifeved to have been pro» 
nounced by the Supreme Being to Brahma'; 


the following verfion is moft fcrupuloufly lit 

“ Even I was evert at firft, not any othet' 
thing i that, which exifts, unperceived ; fu- 
“ preme ; afterwards I am that which isj 
** and he, who muft remain, am I. • 

Except the First Cause, whatever may 
appear, and may not appear., in the mind, 
know that to be the mind’s Ma'ya' (or Delu~ 
**Jion), as light, as darknefs. 

** As the great elements are in various beings, 
fentcring, yet not entering (that is, pervading, 
“ not deftroying), thus am I in them, yet not 
“ in them. 

** Even thus far may inquiry be made by him, 
who feeks to know the principle of mind, in 
^ union and feparation, which muft be Every 


Wild and obfcure as thefe ancient verfes muft 
appear in a naked verbal tranflation, it will per- 
haps be, thought by many, that the poetry or 
mythology of Greece or Italy afford no con- 
ceptions more aWfully magnificent : yet the bre- 
vity and fimplicity of the Mofaick diction are 

As to the creation of the world, in the opinion 
of the Romans, Ovid, who might naturally have 
^een expe^ed to defcribe it with learning and 
* See die Original, p. 294. Plate IV. 


35 « 



elegance, leaves us wholly in the dark, which of 
the Gods was the adlor in it: other My thologifts 
are more explicit ; ajid we may rely on the au-, 
thority of Coiinut|Js, tljfat the old European 
heathens confiderediJovE (not* the fein of Sa- 
turn, but of the Ethei\ that is of an unknown 
parent) as the great Life-giv^r, and Father of 
Gods and jnen j . to which niay be added tl\e Or- 
pheaii Ao&.r\tic, preferved by Proclus, that 
“ the abyfs and empy return, the earth and fea, 
“ the Gods and Goddefles, were pi'oduced by 
Zeus or Jupiter.” In this character he cor- 
refponds with Brahma'; and, perhaps, with 
that God of the Babylonians (if we can rely on 
the accounts of their ancient religion), who, like 
Brahma', reduced the univcrfe to order, and, 
like Brahma', lojl his head, with the blood of 
which new animals were inflantly formed : I 
allude to the common ftory, the meaning of 
which I cannot difcover, that Brahma' had 
five heads till one ctf them was cut off by Na- 

. -^That, in another capacity, Jove was, the 
J^lperAad, tdl, we may f^le^ ffom 
J»$ old Latin epithets, and from Cicero, who 
informs us, that his ufual name is*a contra(3;ion 
0f Javans Pater i an etymology, which fiiows 
the idea entertained of his character, though we 
zxiay have feme doidit of its accuracy. Calli- 


MACHUS, we know, addrefles him as the be- 
Jlower of all good, and of fecuntyfrom giief ; and, 
Jince neither wealth without virtue, nor virtue 
without wealth, give complete happitu fs, he prays, 
like a wiffe poet, for both. An Indian prayer 
for riches would be diredled to LA'c^in: T, the 
wife of Vishnu,' '(ince the Hindu Godclcffcs are 
believed to be the powers of their refpedive 
lords: as to Cuvr/uA, the Indian Piu'us, one 
of whofe names is raulajh'a, he is revered, in- 
deed, as a magnificent Deity, refiJlng in the 
palace of Alacd, or borne throiigli the fky in a 
fplendid car named Pujlapaca, but is manifeftly 
fubordinate, like the other feven Genii, to the 
three principal Gods, or rather to the principal 
God confidcred in three capacities. As the foul 
of the world, or the pervading mind, fo finely 
deferibed by Virgil, we fee Jove reprefented 
by feveral Roman poets ; and with great fub- 
limity by Lucan in the known fpeech of Cato 
concerning the Ammonian oracle, ** Jupiter is, 

“ wherever we look, wherever we move,” This 
is precifely the Indian idea of Vishnu, accord- 
ing to the four verfes above exhibited, not tha^ 
the Brahmans imagine their male Divinity te^^ 
be the divine’ EJjhice of the great one, which 
they declare to be wholly incomprehenfible j 
but, fince the power of prejerving created things 
by a fuperintending providence, belongs eini-* 


nently to the Godhead, they hold that poww to 
exift tranfcendently in the prefervirtg member 
of the Triad, whom they fuppofe to be every 
WHERE ALWAYS, j\ot in^ybftancc, but in fpirit 
and energy : here, however, I fpeak of*the V aijh- 
vavas\ for' the Saivds afcribe a fort of pre- 
eminence to S V4, whofe attji4butes are now to 
be concifely examined. 

It was in the capacity of Avenger and De- 
ftroyer, that Jo\ e encountered and overthrew 
the Titans and Giants, whom Tvriion, Bria- 
UEUS, Titius, and the reft of their fraternity, 
led againft the God of Olympus’, to whom an 
Eagle brought lightning and thunderbolts during 
the warfare : thiSs, 'in a fimilar conteft between 
Siva and the Daityas, or children of Dirr, 
who frequently rebelled againft heaven, Buaii- 
TUA is believed to have prefented the God of 
Deftrudfion with fiery JbaJLs. One of the many 
poems, entitled Ru.ndyan, the laft book of which 
has been tranflated into Italian, contains an extra- 
ordinary dialogue betw'cen the crow Bhufiounda, 
aild a rational Eagle, named Gauuda, who is 
often painted with the face of a beautiful youth, 
and the body of an imaginary bird; and one of 
the eighteen Furdnas bears his name and com- 
prizes his whole hiftory.^ • M. Sonnerat in- 
forms us, that VisuNir is reprefented in fome 
places riding on the Garuda, which he fup- 


pdfes to be the^ondicberi Eagle of BRissq(.sr, 
efpecially as the Brahmans of the Coaft highly 
venerate that clafs of birds, and provide food 
for numbers of theii^ at ftatcd hours : I rather 
conceive the Garuda to be a fabulous bird, but 
agree with him, that the Hindu God, who rides 
on it, refcmbles i^he ancient Ju PIT i;k. In the 
old tepiplcs at Gaya, V rs n n u is, either mounted 
on this poetical bird or attended by it together 
w'ith a little page ; but, . left an etynaologift 
fhould fin’d Ganv-Mko in G.vuri), I rpuft 
obferve that the Sanfivit word is pronounced 
Garura i thougli I admit, that the and 

Indian ftories of the cclelllal.bird and the page 
appear to iiavc fome refemWan(:e. As the Olym- 
pian Jupri'Kii fixed his Court and held his 
Councils on a lofty and brilliant mountain, fo 
the appropriated feat of Man a'de'v a, whom 
the Saiva's confider as the Chief of the Deities, 
was mount Caildfa, every fplinter of whofe 
rocks was an ineftimable gem : his terreftrial 
haunts are the fnowy hills of Himalaya, or that 
branch of them to the Eaft of the Brahmapuira, 
which has the name of Cbandrafid bara, or the 
Mountain of the Moon. When, after all thefe 
circ^inftances, we learn that Siva is believed 
t(j| bave three eyes,- whence he is named alfo 
TiiiLo'cHAN, and know from Pausanias, 
not only that Triopbtbalmos was an epithet of 


ITALT. Ay^ njDIA. 

5 ^ US, 'but that a ftatufe hf iSm had been found, 
fo early as the taking of Tw, with a third eye 
in his forehead, as we' fee aim reprefented by 
the Hindus, we ^nuft concliiSde, tl^at the identity 
of the two Gods falls litt’/e fliort of being de- 

In the character of Deji/vyer alfo we may 
look upon this hclian Deitji/'as correfponding 
with the Stygian Jove, or Pluto.; efpecia$y 
fmce CA'Li', ai ftime'feminiAe gender, is 
a name of his confort, who will appear liereafter 
to be Proserpine : indeed, if we can rely on 
a Perfian tranflation of the Bhdgavat (for the 
original is not yet in my jpofleflion), the fo- 
vereign of ‘Pdtdla, or the Infernal Regions, is 
the Kifg of Serpefits, named Sesiiana ga ; for 
Crishna is there faid to have defeended with 
his favourite Arjun to the /eat.of that formi- 
dable divirrity, h;om whom he inftantly obtained 
the favour, wfaich'^J^u tliat the fouls of 
a' Brahmans fix foris, who had been ids^in 
jlMtttle, ipight reanimate their refpedive bodieijf-j 
Sjb'SIuana'ga is thus deferibed : **110 had 
^ ^ appearance, llith a thoufand heads, 

'** und, on ea|^ of them, a crown-fet with re- 
** fpWdent gms, one of which was larger and 
“ brfgitter than-the^reft ; his eye’s gleamed like 
flaming torches ; but .fiis neck, his tongues, 
*' and his body were black ; the Ikirts of his 


\ ■ 7*1 

** habiliment were ,and a fparkling jewel 

“ hung in every orfe of his ears j his arms-O^ere 
** extended, and adorned with rich bracelets. 

*' and his hands bore 

“weapon, the macelfor war, and the lotos.” 
Thus Pluto was often exhibited in painting 
and fculpture with a diadem and Tceptre ; but 
himfelf arid his equipage were of the blackeft 
l|^ade. . 

There is yet another attribute of Maiia'- 
oe'va, by which he is too vilibly diftinguiflied 
in the drawings and temples of Bengal. To 
deftroy, according to the Veddnt'Cs of IndiUy the 
Sufi’s of Pcrfia, and many Philofophcrs of our 
European fchools, is only to -generate and re- 
produce in another form : hence the God of 
Dejlruction is holdcn in this country to prefide 
over Qiencration ; as a fymbol of which he rides 
on a xohite bull. Can we doubt, thar. the loves 

the holy fliell, the radiated 

and feats ofjvn rxiui Genitor (not forgetting 
the xvbite bull of Euuopa) and his extraordinary 
title of Lapis, for which no fatisfadtory reafon 
is commonly given, have a connexion with the 
Indian Philofophy and Mythology? As to the 
deity of Lanipfucus, he was originally a mere' 
fcafe-crow, and ought not to have a place in 
any mythologfcal fyftem ; and, in regard tq 
Bacchus, the God ol Vintage (between whofe 
ads and thofe of Jupite-r we find, as Baco]^ 



obferves, a wonderfulj afilnljy), his Jthypballick 
images, meafures, an(| ceremonies alluded pro- 
bably to the fuppofed relltion of Love and 
Wine ; unlefs we believe them to have belonged 
originally to Siva, one of whofe names is 
Vdgis or B.i'ci's, and to have been afterwards 
improperly applied. Though, in an Effay on the 
Gods of India^ where the Briil^tians are pofitively to tafte fermented liquors, ”^6 can 
have Utile to do with JBACCHUs,‘as C5od of 
Wine, who . was probably no more than the ima- 
ginary, Prefident over the vintage in Italy ^ Greece^ 
and the' lower yet we mull not omit Su- 
ra'de'vi the Goddefs of Wine, who arofe, fay 
the Hindus,. i'roTrf the ocean, when it was churn- 
ed with the mountain Mandar: and this fable 
feeras to indicate, that.the Indians came from a 
country, in which wine was agiciently made and 
confidered as a blelEng.; though the dangerous 
effeifls of intemperanOe induced their early le- 
gillators to prohibit the ufe of all fpirituous 
liquors ; and it were much to be wilhed, that fo 
a law had never been violated. 

may be introduced the Jupiter Ma^ 
Neptune, of the Romans, as re&ni* 
.bling Maua'de'va in h\& generative charadiec; 
‘ 4 !;fpeeially as the Hindu God is the hufband of 
BU ava'nI, whofe relation to the zvaiers is evi- 
liehtfy marked by her image being reftored to 

S 62 DN tH£ fftOlb? OF GREECll, 


them at the conclufil^n of her great feftival calie<). 
Durgotjava : (he is Icnowr alfo to have attributes 
exactly fimilar to thofe of Vejius Marina^ 
whofe birth from the fea-foam and fplendid rife 
from the Conch, in which fhe had been cradled, 
have afforded fo many charming fubjedis to 
ancient and modern artifts ; and it is very re- 
markable, that the JR. F, M B n of I N D ii -v’s court, 
who feems to correfpond with the popular 
Vknt/s, or Goddefs o£ Beauty, was produced, 
according to the Indian Fabulifts, from the froth 
of the churned ocean. The identity of the 
trisiila and the trident, the weapon of Siva and 
of Neptune, feems to eftatUfh this analogy; 
and the veneration paid all ever India to the 
large buccinum, efpccially when it can be found 
with the fpiral line and mouth turned from left 
to right, brings in,frantly to our mind the mufick 
of Tuiton. The Genius of Water is Va- 
KUNA ; but he, like the reft, is far inferior td 
MaheVa, and even to Indra, who is the 
Prince of the beneficent genii. 

This way of confidering the Gods, as indi- 
vidual fubftances, but as diftinft perfons in dif- 
tindl chara£ters, is common to the European and 
Indian fyftems ; as well as the cuftom of giving 
the higheft of them the greateft number of 
names : hence, not to jepeat what has been faid 
of Jupiter, came the triple capacity of Diana; 



and hence her petition in Callimachus, that 
fhe might be polyonymous or mcny-titled. The con- 
fort of Si VA is more eminenly marked by thefe 
diftindtions than tliofe of Brahma' or Vish- 
nu : fhe refembles the Isis Myrionymos^tovihom 
an ancient marble, defcribcd by Gruteu, is de- 
dic ted; but her leading names and .charadfers 
are Pa'rvatj, Du'/sga', BiiTi^VANf. 

As the Mountain-horn Goddefs, or 'P/'.iivATi, 
fhe has many properties’ of 'the Olympian Juno : 
her majeftick deportment, high fpirit, and ge- 
neral attributes are the fame ; and we find her 
both on Mount Cafidfa, and at the banquets of 
the Deities, unifc'rmly the companion of her 
hufband. One circumftance in the parallel is 
extremely lingular : fhe is ufually attended by 
her fon C a'utice'ya, who rides on z peacock i 
and, in fome drawings, his (Jwn robe feems to 
be fpangled Vith eyes ; to which muft be added 
that, in fome of her temples, a peacock^ without ' 
a rider, ftands near her image. Though Ca'r- 
tice'ya, with his fix faces and numerous eyes, 
bears fome refemblance to Argus, whom Juno 
employed as her principal wardour, yet, as he is 
a’Deky of the fecond clafs, and the Commander 
of celeftial Armies, he feems clearly to be the 
Orus of Egypt and the Mars of Italy: his 
name Scanda, by which^ie is celebrated in one 


of the Piirdnas, has a connexion, I am peifuaded. 

VOL. I. c c 


with the old Sec an deb, of Perjia^ whom the 
poets ridiculoufly confound with the ‘Mace- 
donian. \ 

The attributes of'-DuRGA', or D^cult of ac- 
cefs, are alfo confpicuous in the feftival above- 
mentioned, which is called by her name, and in 
this charadter £he refembles Minerva, not the 
peaceful inventrefs of the foie and ufeful arts, 
but Pa EE AS, armed with a helmet and fpear: 
both reprefent hcroick Virtue, or Valour united 
with Wifclom ; both flew Demons and Giants 
with their own hands, and both protedted the 
wife and virtuous, who paid ihem due adoration. 
As Pallas, they fay, takes Iher name from vi- 
brating a lance, and ufually appears in complete 
armour, thus Cures, the o\CLP,atian word for a 
fpear, was one of Juno’s titles j and fo, if Gi- 
RALDus be correct, was Hoplosmia, which at 
Elis, it feems, meant a female drefled in panoply 
, or complete accoutrements. The unarmed Mi- 
nerva of the Romans apparently correfponds, 
*as patronefs of Science and Genius, with Seres- 
WATi, the wife of Brahma', and the emblem 
of his principal Creative Power: both goddelTes 
have given their names to celebrated grammatical 
works; but the Sdrefwata of Saru'pa'cha- 
RYA is far more concife as well as more ufeful 
and agreeable than thje Minerva of Sanctius. 
The Minerva of Italy invented the flute, and 


• 365 

SeReswati prefides over melody: the proteft- 
refs of . Athens was even, on the fame account, 
furnamed Music e'. 

Many learned MyfhologlCts, with Gir Aldus 
at their head, confider the peaceful Minerva as 
the Isis of Egypt ; from whofe temple at Sais a 
wonderful infcription is quoted by Plutarch, 
which has a refemljisnce to thefbur Sanfcrii verfes 
above exhibited as the text of the Bb/rgAval : 
“ I am' all, that hath been, and is, ahd (hall be ; 
“ and my veil no mortal hath ever removed.” 
For my part I have no doubt, that the iswA ija 
and isi of the Hindis arc the Osiris and Isis of 
the Egyptians', though a diftindl eflay in the man- 
ner of Plutarch would be requifite in order to 
demonftrate their^ identity : they mean, I con- 
ceive, the Powers of Nature conlidered as Alale 
and Female; and Isis, like th^ other goddefles, 
reprefents the active power of her lord, whofe 
eight forms, under which he becomes vifiblc to 
man, were thus enumerated by Cali da's a near 
two thoufand years ago : “ JVatcr was the firll 
“ wprk of the Creator ; and Eire receives the 
“ oblation of clarified butter, as the law ordains ; 
''*■ the Sacrifice is performed with folemnity ; the 
“ two Lights of heaven diftingniflr time ; the 
“ fubtll Ethel’, which is the vehicle of found, 
“ pervades the univerfe the Earth is the na- 
" tural parent of all increafe j and by Air all 

c c 2 


“ things breathing are animated: may is a, the 
“ power propitioufly apparent in thefe eight 
“ forms, blefs and fuftain you !” The Jive ele- 
ments, therefore, as-well as the Sun and Moon, 
are confidered as isA or the Ruler^ from 
which word isi may be regularly formed, though 
iSA Ni be the ufual name of his active PoweVy 
adored as the Goddefs of Nature. I have not 
yet found in Sanferit the wild, though poetical, 
tale of lo ; but am perfuaded, that, by means of 
the Purdms, we ftiall in time difeover all the 
learning of the Egyptians without decyphering 
their hieroglyphicks : the buli| of Is war a feems 
to be Arts, or Ar, as he is more corretStly 
named in the true reading of a paflage in Jk re- 
mi a it ; and, if the veneration Ihown both in 
Tibet and India to fo amiable and ufeful a qua- 
druped as the Cow, together with the regeneration 
of the Lama hiinfelf, have not fome affinity 
.with the religion of Egypt and the idolatry of 
Ifraely we muft at leaft allow that circumftances 
have wonderfully coincided. Bhava n'i now 
demands our attention j and in this- charafler I 
fuppofe the wife of Maiia'dk'va to be as well 
the Jcxo Cinxia or Lucina of the Romans 
(called alfo by them Diana Solvizonay and by 
the Greeks Ilitiiyia) as Venus herfelf ; not 
the Idalian queen of laughter and jollity, who, 
with her Nyinphs and Graces, was the beautiful 



child of poetical imagination, and anfwers to the 
with her celeftial train of Ap- 
fara’s, or dumfels of paradifc ; but Ven us Uni- 
Ilia, fo luxuriantly painted by LiicUE’j'i us, and 
fo properly invoked by him at the opening of a 
poem on nature; Venus, prefiding over gene- 
ralion, and, on that account, exhibited fometimes 
of both fexes (aip-union very-common in the In- 
dian fculpturcs), as in her bearded ftatue at Rome, 
in the images perhaps called Hermatbena, and in 
thofc figures of her, which had the, form of a 
conical marble ; “ for the reafon of which figure 
“ we are left, fays 'rACiTUs, in the dark the 
reafon appears too clearly in the temples and 
paintings of -Hindujian ; where it never feems to 
have entered the heads of the legiflators or people 
that any thing natural could be offenfively ob- 
fcenc ; a fingularity, which tpervades all their 
writings and converfation, but is no proof of de- 
pravity in their morals. Both Plato and Ci— 
c.eho fpeak of Kuos, or the Heavenly Cue id, 
as the fon of Venus and Jieitek; whicli 
proves, that the monarch of Olympus and the 
Goddefs of Fecundity were conneded as Ma- 
ha'de'va and Biiava'ni: the God Ca'm.a, 
indeed, had Ma ya' and Casyap.a, or I ranus, 
for his parents, at leaft according to the Mytho- 
logifts of Cajhmir-, but, in^moft refpefts, he feems 
the twill-brother of Cupid with richer and more 


lively appendages. One of his many epithets is 
Dipaca, the Inflamer, which is erroneoully writ- 
ten Dipuc ; and I am now convinced, that the 
fort of refemblance, which has been obferved 
between his Latin and Sanferit names, is ac- 
vidental : in each name the three firft letters are 
ihe root, and between them there is no affinity. 
Whether anv Mythological *c‘diinc£tion fubfifted 
between the atnaracus, with the fragrant leaves 
of which Hymkn bouhd his temples, and the 
tulasi of India, muft be left undetermined : the 
botanical relation of the two plants (if amaracus 
be properly tranflated marjh'am) is extremely 

One of the moft remarkable ceremonies, in 
the feftival of the Indian Goddefs, is that before- 
mentioned of calling her image into the river : 
the Pandits, of whom I inquired concerning its 
origin and import, anfwered, “ that"it was pre- 

feribed by the VMa, they knew not why 
but this cullom has, I conceive, a' relation to 
the dodtrinCi that water is a form of Is war a, 
and confequently of isa'nI, who is even repre- 
fented by feme as .the patronefs of that element, 
to which her figure is reftored, after having re- 
ceived all due honours on earth, which i» con- 
lidered as another form of the God of Nature, 
though fubfequent, inthe order of Creation, to 
the prime^^al, fluid. There feems no decifive 



proof of one original fyftem among Idolatrous 
nations in the worfhip of river-gods and river- 
goddefles, nor in the homage paid to their 
ftreams, and the ideas of purification annexed 
to them : fince Greeks, Italians, Egyptians, and 
Hindus might (without any communication with 
each other) have adored the feveral diyinities of 
their great rivers, from which they derived plea- 
fure, health, and abundance. The nqtidn of 
Dodor Muse RAVii, that large rivers were fup- 
pofed, from their ftrength and rapidity, to be 
conduded by Gods, while rivulets only were 
proteded by female deities, is, like moll other 
notions of Grammarians on the genders of 
nouns, overthrown by fads. Moll of the great 
Indian rivers are- feminine ; and the three god- 
defles of the v/aters, whom the Hindus chiefly 
venerate, areG.\.\GA', who fprang, like armed 
Pallas, from the head of the Indian Jovk; 
Yamuna', daughter of the Sun, and Slrks-. 
WA rl : all three meet at Praydga, thence called 
Trivmi, or the three plaited locks', butSEUES- 
WAtl, according to the popular belief, finks 
under ground, and riles at another Trivmi near 
Hiigli, where Ihe rejoins her beloved Gang a'. 
The Brahmaputra is, indeed, a male river; and, 
as his name fignifies the Son of Brahma', I 
thence took occafion to feign that he was mar- 
ried to Gang a', though I have not yet feen any 


mention of him, as a. God, in the Sanjcrit 

Two incarnate deities of the firft rank, Ra- 
ma and Cj.’isiiNA, muft now be introduced, 
and their feveral attributes diftindly explained. 
The firll of them, I believe, was the Dionysos 
of the Greeks, whom they named Bromius, 
without knowing why, and Bugenj'.s, when 
they reprefented him horned, as well as Lvaios 
and El r u r n k u lo s, the Deliverer, and Tu r a m- 
Bosor DiTiiYiiAaii’.os, the Triumphant: moft 
of thofe titles were adopted by the Romatis, by 
whom he was called Buuma, Tag ripoumis. 
Liber, Triumph us; and both nations had 
records or traditionary accounts of his giving 
laws to men and deciding their contefts, of his 
improving navigation and commerce, and, what 
may appear yet more obfervable, of his eon- 
quering India and other countries with an army 
.of Satyrs^ commanded by no lefs a perfonage 
than Pan } whom Lilius Giraldus, on 
what authority I know not, aflerts to have re- 
fided in Iberia, “ when he had returned, fays 
“ the learned Mythologift, from the Indian war, 
“ in which he accompanied Bacchus.” It 
were fuperfluous in a mere elTay, to run any 
length in the parallel between this European 
God and the fovereigs of Ayodhyd^ whom the 
Hindus believe to have been an appearance on 



earth of the Preferving Power ; to have been a 
Conqueror of the higheft renown, and the De- 
liverer of nations from tyrants, as well as of 
his confort Sita' from the’giant Ra'van, king 
of Lancd, and to have co’mma:idcd in chief a 
numerous and intrepid race of thofe large 
keys, which our naturalifls, or fomj; of them, 
have denominated '///rZ/hw Satyrs: his General, 
the Prince of Satyrs, was named mat, 
or xvitb high cheeky boric s-, and. u Irh" workmen 
of fuch agility, he foon raifed a bridge of rocks 
over the fea, part of which, fay the Hindus, 
yet remains ; and it is, probably, the feries of 
rocks, to which the Mufehnans or the Poitugucfc 
have given the foolifh name of Aj)am’s (it 
Ihould be called R vm.a’s) bridge. Alight not 
this army of Satyrs have been only a race of 
mountaineers, whom R if Inch a monarch 
ever exifte’d, had civilized ? However that may 
be, the large breed of In. ian Apes is at this 
moment held in high veneration by the Hin- 
dus, and fed with d vodon by the Brdbmxns, 
who feem, in two or three place.s on the banks 
of the G./ng. s, to have a regular endowment 
for the fupport of :nem; they live in tribes of 
three or four hundred, ar.* wonderfully gentle 
(i fpeak '3 an ey e-vvitnels), and ;ippe <r to have 
fome kind of ouler anti* fu’*o) '.inatu/:j in il.cir 
little fyiv.Lii polity. Wc mull not that 


the father of Ilammat was the God of Wind, 
named Pa van, one of the eight Genii; and, 
as Pa n improved the pipe by adding fix reeds, 
and “ played exquifitely on the cithern a few 
“ moments after Iiis birth,” fo one of the four 
fyftems of Indian mufick bears the name of 
H\ N u M AT, or 1 1 A N u M A N in the nominative, as 
its inventor, and is nbw in general eftimation. 

The war of hanen is dramatically reprefented 
at the fefliv'al of Ra'aia on the ninth day of 
the new moon of Chaitra ; and the drama con- 
cludes (fays Holm’ki,, who had often feen it) 
with an exhibition of the fire-ordeal, by which 
the vidor’s wife Sit a' gave proof of her con- 
nubial fidelity : “ the dialogue, he adds, is taken 
“ from one of the Eighteen holy books,” mean- 
ing, I fuppofe, the Vitrdnas \ but the Hindus 
have a great number of regular dramas at leaft 
two thoufand years old, and among them are 
fiivcral very fine ones on the llory of Ra‘sia. 
The firft poet of the Hindus was the great 
VaT-auc', and his Kdmdyan is an Epic Poem 
on the fame fubjed, which, in unity of’ adidn, 
magnificence of imagery, and elegance of ftyle, 
far furpnfles the learned and elaborate work of 
Novves, entitled Dia/njiaca, half of which, or 
twenty-four books, I perufed with great eager- 
nefs, when 1 was very young, and fhould have 
travelled to the conclufion of it, if other pur- 

ITALY, and INDIA. 373 

fults had not engaged me: I fhall never have 
leifure' to compare the Dionyjiacks with the 
Rdmdyan^ but am confident, that an accurate 
comparifon of the two poems would prove 
D roNYsos and Ra'ma to have been the fame 

N * 

perfon ; and , I incline to think, tlia^ he was 
Ra'ma, the fon of Cu'sii, who might have 
eftablilhed the. ‘firlt regular* government in this 
part of /IJia. I had almoft forgotten, that 
Meros is faid by the' Greeks to have been a 
mountain of India, on which their ’Dio n yso.s 
was born, and that Meru, though it generally 
means the north pole in the hidian geography, 
is alfo a moyntain near the city of Naifiada or 
Nyfa, called by the Grecian geographers Diofiy- 
fopolis, and univerfally celebrated in the Sanferit 
poems; though the birth place of Ra'.ma is 
fuppofed to have been Ayodt^’d or Andh. That 
ancient city extended, if we believe the Brdh- 
mans, over a line of ten Tojans, or about forty 
miles, and the prefent city of Laebnau, pro- 
nounced Luctmv, was only a lodge for one of 
its 'gates, called Lacjbmanadzvdra, or the gate of 
Lacs II MAN, a brother of Ra'ma: M.Sox- 
nkkat i'uppofes Ayodhyd to have been Siam ^ 
a moft erroneous and unfounded fuppofition ! 
which would have been , of little confequence, 
if he had not grounded dn argument on it, that 
Ra'ma was the fame perfon with Buddha, 



who muft have appeared many centuries after 
the conqueft of Lancd. 

The fecond great divinity, Cm sun a, pafled 
a life, according to the Indiam, of a moft ex- 
trordinary and incomprehenfible nature. He was 
the D.'/vAci by Vasud'kva; but his 
birth was concealed through fear of the tyrant 
Cansa, to whom it had been, predidled, that 
a child born at that time in that family would 
deftroy him : he was foftcred, therefore, in Mai’- 
burd by an.honeft herdfman, furnamed Anan- 
DA, or Happy, and his amiable wife Yaso'da’, 
who, like another Pales, was conftantly oc- 
cupied in her paftures and her dairy. In their 
family were a multitude of young Gopas or Cow- 
herds, and beautiful Gopi's, or fnilkmaids, who 
were his playfellows during his infancy ; and, in 
his early youth, he feleded nine damfels as his 
favourites, with whom he paffed his' gay hours 
in dancing, fporting, and playing on his flute. 
For the remarkable number of his Gdpis I have 
no authority but a whimfical picture, where nine 
girls are grouped in the form of an elephant,' on 
which he fits and pipes ; and, unfortunately, the 
word nava fignifies both nine and new or young; 
lb that, in the following ftanza, it may admit of 
f.yro interpretations : 

taran'ijdpuline ndvaballavi 

pmfudd faba celicutuhaldt 



■ herimahatn hrfday^na Jadd vahc. 

“ I bear in my bofom continually that God. 
‘‘who, for fportive recreation with a train of 
“ nine (young) dairy-maids, dances gracefully, 
‘‘ now quick now flbw, on the fand| juft left 
“ by the Daughter of the Sun.” / 

Both he andjthevthree Ra'mas are deferibed 
as youths of perfed beauty ; but the princefles 
of Hindiift^ as well ’as the damlels of Nan- 
DA*s farny^ ^e re palllonately in .love with 
Crisiina, who continues to this hour the dar- 
ling God of the Indian women. The fed of 
Hindus^ who adore him with enthufiaftick, and 
almoft exclufive, devotion, have broached a 
dodrine, which they maintain with cagernefs, 
and which feems general in thefe provinces ; 
that he was diftind from aH> the- Avatars, who 
had only dn anfa, or portion, of his divinity ; 
while Crisiina was the per Jon of VisHNir- 
hitnfelf in a human form : hence they confidcr 
dit third Ra ma, his elder brother, as the eighth 
Jt&cddr invefted with xa, anmedion of his divine 
. iddiance ; and, in the principal Sanferit die- 
tioniuy, comjaied about two thoufand years ago, 
CilisuNA, Va'sadr'va,Go'vikda, and other 
flames of the Shepherd God, are intermixed 
with epithets of Naiia'yan, or the Divine 
Spirit. All the Avatars are painted with gem- 



med Ethiopian^ or Parthiany cor6nets; tvithrays 
encircling their heads ; jewels in their ears ; two 
necklaces, one ftraight, and one pendent on their 
bofoms with dropping gems ; garlands of well- 
difpofed many-coloured flowers, or collars of 
pearls, hpiging down below their waifts ; loofe 
mantles ' Y^f golden tiffue or dyed' filk, embroi- 
dered on their hems with flowers, elegantly 
thrown over one flioulder, and folded, like 
ribbands, acrofs the breafl; ; with j^acglets too 
on one arm, and on each wfift : they, are naked 
to the waifts, and uniformly ■^Ith dark azure 
ilefh, in allufion, probably, to the tint of that 
primordial fluid, on which Na ra'yan moved 
in the beginning of time ; but their fkirts are 
bright yellow, the colour of the curious peri- 
carpium in the centre of the water-lily, where 
Nature^ as Dr. Murray obferves, in fame de- 
gree dijclofes her fecrets, each feed containing, 
before it germinates, a few perfeeff leaves ; they 
arc fometimes drawn w'ith that flower in one 
hand ; a radiated elliptical ring, ufed as a miflile 
weapon,, in a fecond ; the facred fhell,; or Ipft- 
handed buccinum, in a third; and a mace or 
battle-ax, in a fourth; but, when* 
he appears, as he fometimes does appear, among 
the Avatars, is more fplendidly decorated than.- 
any, and wears a rich 'garland of fylvan flowers', 
whence he is named Vanama'li, as low as 



his ankles, which ar^ adorned with firings of 
pearls.. Dark blue, approaching to blacky which 
is the meaning of the word Crijbna, is believed 
to have been his complexion ; and hence the 
large bee of that colour is .confecrated to him, 
and is often drawn , fluttering over'^his.' head : 
that azure tint, which approaches to hlacknefs, 
is peculiar, as we have already remarked, to 
VrsHA'u and hence, in the great .refervoir or 
ciftern at Cdtmdn^u the capital of* Nepal, there 
is placed ^ a recumbent poflure a Jarge well- 
' proportionea image of blue marble, reprefenting 
Na'ha VAX floating on the waters. But let us 
return to the a<3:ions of Cm sun a; vdio was 
not lefs heroick, than lovely, and, when a boy, 
flew the terrible ferpent Cdliya with a number 
of giants and monfters: at a more advanced 
age, he put to death his crufl cijemy Cans a ; 
and, having taken under his prote£lion the king 
Yuiju isii r’jt III and the other Pandas, who had 
been grievou fly oppreffedby the Curtis, and theici 
tyrannical chief, he kindled the war deferibed in 
the.great Epick Poem, entitled the Mahdhbarat, 
at the profperous conclufion of which he return- 
•ed to his heavenly feat inJdaicont' ha, having left 
the inftrudlions comprifed in the Gita with his 
difconfolate friend Arjun, whole grandfon be- 
came fovereign of India. 

In this pidlufe it is impofllble not to difeover. 


at the firll glance, the features of Apollo^ 
furnamed Nomios, or the Vq/foral, in Greece, 
and O p i !• K i{ in Italy ; who fed the herds of 
Admetus, and flew the fcrpent Python-, a 
God amorous, beautiful, and warlike : the word 
Govinda may be literally tranflated NoiUios, as 
Cefuva, is- Crinilus, or with fine hair ; but whe- 
ther Gopdia, or the herdfman, has any relation 
to ylpoVo, let our Etymologifts dfctergrine. Co- 
lonel VAL’.tNCf.y, whofe Jcarned enquiries 


into the ancient literature of Ireland are highly 
interelling, afliires me, that X'rfjhna in Irijh 
means the Sun; and we find Apollo and 
Sol confidered by the Rmnan poets as the fame 
deity: I am inclined, indeed, to believe, that 
not only Crishn a or Vishnu, but cvcft Brah- 
ma' and Siva, when united, and eNpreffed by 
the Inyftical word O M, were defigned by the 
firft idolaters to reprefent the Solar fire; but 
Phceb us, or the orb of the Sun perfonified, is 
^^dored by the Indians as the God Su'rya, 
whence the fe<3:, who pay him particular ador- 
ation, are called Sauras : their poets and paint- 
ers deferibe his car as drawn by feven green 
horfes, preceded by Ar.UN, or the Dawn, wdio 
afls as liis charioteer, and followed by thoufands 
of Genii worfhipping him and modulating his 
praifes. He has a inultitude of names, and 
among them twelve epithets' or titles, which 


denote his diftinft I>ozvcj ^ in each of the twelve 
months : thofe pozvers arc’called Adityas, or fons 
of Aditi by Caryapa, the Indian Uranus; 
and one of them has, accordi^ig to fome autho- 
rities, the name of Vishnu or Pervader. Su- 
rya is believed to have defeended frequently 
from his car in 4 human fliape, and to hav^ left 
a race on earth, who are equally renowned in 
the Indian ftories with the Hihiadai of Greece: 
it is very fingular, that his two fons, called As- 
winau or Aswini'cuma'rau, in the dual, 
Ihould be conllderell as twin-brothers, anil paint- 
ed like Castor and ’Pollux, but they have 
each the charader of i£scuLAPius among the 
Gods, and are ’believed to have been born of a 
nymph, who, in the form of a mare, was im- 
pregnated with fuh-bcams. I fufped the whole 
fable of Casyapa and his progeny to be aftro- 
nomical ; aqd cannot but imagine, that the 
Greek name Cassiopeia has a relation to it. 
Another great Indian family are called the 
Children of the MooHy or Chandra ; who is 
a male Deity, and confequcntly not to be com- 
pared with Artemis or Diana; nor have 
I yet found a parallel in I^^a for the Goddefs 
of the Chafe, who feems to havc'been the daugh>- 
ter of an European fancy, and very naturally 
created by the invention of Bucolick and Geor- 
gick poets : yet,* fince the Moon is a form of 

VOL. i. ’ D D 



I'swARA, the God of Nature, according to th^* 
verfe of Ca'lida'sa, and fmce i'sa'ni has been 
Ihown to be his confort or power, we may con- 
fider her, in one of her charadlers, as Luna ; 
efpecially as we fliall foon be convinced that, in 
the fhades below, flie correfponds with the 
Hecate of Europe. 

The worflaip of Solar, or Veftal, Eire may be 
afcribed, like that of Osiris and Isis, to the 
fccohd fource of mythology, or an enthufiaftick. 
admiration of Nature’s wonderful powers ; and 
5t feems,‘<ts far as I can yet underftahd the Vedus, 
to be the principal worfhip recommended in 
them. We have feen, that Maha'de'va him- 
felf is perfonated by Fire ; but, fubordinate to 
him, is the God Agni, often called Pa'vaca, 
or the Purifier, who anfwers to the Vulcan of 
Egypt, where he was a Deity of high rank ; 
and his wife Swa ha' refembles the younger 
Vesta, or Vestia, as the Eolians pronounced 
the Greek word for a hearth: Biiava'ni, or 
•Venus, is the confort of the Supreme De- 
ftrudtive and Generative Power ; but the Greeks 
and Romans, whofe fyftem is lefs regular than 
that of the Indians, married her to their divine 
artifi, whom^jej alTo named Hephaistos and 
Vulcan, ^ who feems to be the Indian 
ViswACARMAN, the Jofger of arms for the 
Gods, and inventor bf the agi^yafira, or fury 



jhiift, in the war betw’(^n them and the Daityas 
or Titans. It is not eafy here to refrain from 
obferving (and, if the obfervation give offence 
in England, it is contrary to* my intention) that 
the newly difeovered planet Ihould unqueftion- 
ably be named Vul'can ; fince the tonfufion 
of analogy in* the names of the planets is in- 
elegant; unfcholarly, and u^iphilofopliical : the 
name Uranus is appropriated to the firmament; 
but Vulcan, tite floweft of* the Gods, and, 
according Jo the Egyptian priefts, the^oldeft of 
them, agrees admirably with an orb, which 
inuff perform its revolution in a very long pe- 
riod ; and, by giving it this denomination, we 
Ihall have . feveri primary planets with the 
names of as many limnan Deities, MfiRCURy, 
Venus, Tfii-Lus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, 
Vulcan. • 

It has already been intimated, that the Musks 
and Nymphs are the Ga'infA of Mall/urdy and 
of GovcrdJjan, the Vdrnajfus of the Hindus', and, 
the lyrick poems of Jayadeva yvHI fully 
juftify this opinion ; but the Nymphs of Mnfick 
are the thirty Ra'gini's or Female. PaJJions, 
tvhofc various functions 'aa>d properties are fo 
richly delineated by the Indian painters and lb 
finely deferibed by the poets ; but I will not 
anticipate what w’ill requijfe a feparate Effay, by 
enlarging here cm the beautiful allegories of the 

* D D 2 

- 382 


Hindus in their fyftem of mufical modes, which 
they call Ra'ga's, or Pajfions^ and fuppofed to 
be Genii or Demigods. A very diftinguifhed 
fon of Brahma', 'named Na'rrd, whofe ac- 
tions are the fubje<St of a Purdna, bears a ftrong 
refemhlaiice to Hermes or Mercury : he was 
a wife Icgiflator, great in arts ahd in arms, an 
eloquent meffenger, of the. Gods either to one 
another or to favoured mortals, and a mufician 
of exquifite • Ikill ; his invention of the Vim, 
or Indian lute, is thus deferibed in the poem 
entitled Mdgha: “ Na'rrd fat watching from 
“ time to time his large Vina, which, by the 
“ impulfe of the breeze, yielded notes, that 
“ pierced fucceflively the regions . of his ear, 
“ and proceeded by mufical intervals.” The 
law trad, fuppofed to' have been revealed by 
Na'red, is at thif hour cited by the Pandits i 
and we cannot, therefore, believe him to have 
^ been the patron of Thieves ; though an inno- 
Wht theft of Crishna’s cattle, by way of put- 
ting his divinity to a proof, be ftrangely imputed^ 
in the Bbdgavat, to his father Brahma’. 

The laft of the Greek or Italian divinities, 
for whom we find ^Tparallel in the Pantheon oF 
India^ is the Stygian or Taurick Diana, tnher- 
wiie named Hecate, and often confounded 
with .‘Proserpine j and there can be no doubt 
of hcR^dentity with Ca'li , or fhe wife of Siva 



m his charader of the Stygian Jove. To this 
black Goddefs with a collar of golden fkulls, 
as we fee her exhibited in ^11 her principal tem- 
ples, human facriJiTes were anciently offered, as 
the Vedas eftypined but, in the prefent age, they 
are abfolutely^prohibited, as are alfo the lacrifices 
of bulls and Horfes : kids are (lill offered to her ; 
and, to palliate the cruelty of the flaughter, 
which gave fuch offence to BynDHA, the Brah- 
mans inculcate a belief, that the poor vidims rife 
in the he*aven of In dr a, where they become 
the muficians of his band. Inftcad of the ob- 
folete, and now illegal, facrifices of a man, a bull, 
and a horfe,. called NeramMha, Gomidha, and 
yis'wamedha, the powers of nature are thought 
to be propitiated by the lefs bloody ceremonies 
at the end of autumn, when the fcftivals of 
Cali' and Lacshmi' are fdlemhized nearly at 
the fame time : now, if it be alked, how the 
Goddefs of Death came to be united with the* 
mild patronefs of Abundance, I muff propole 
another queltion, “ How came Proserpine to 
“ be repreiented in the European fyftem as the 
daughter of Ceres ?” Pajiaps. both queftions 
may be anfwered by the propolition of natural 
philofophers, that “ the apparent'deftrudion of 
“ a fubftance is the produdion of it in a dif- 
“ ferent form.’.’ .The vAld mufick of Cali’s 
priefts at one of her feftivals brought inftantly 



tQ 'my recolledion the 'Scythian meafurcs of 
Diana’s adorers in the fplcndid opera of Iphi- 
GENIA in TanriSy which Glttck exhibited at 
Paris with lefs genius, indeed, than art, but with 
every advantage that an orcheftra-eculd fupply. 

That vte may not difinifs this affemblage of 
Kuropean and Jijiatick divinities with a fubjeit 
fo horrid as the altars of Hecate and Ca'ei', 
let us conclude wnth two remarks, which pro- 
perly, indeed, belong to the Indian Philofophy, 
with which we are not at prefent concerned. 
Firft ; Klyjium (not the place, but the blifs en- 
joyed there, in which fenfe Milton ufes the 
word) cannot but appear, as'defcribed by the 
poets, a very tedious and infipid kind of enjoy- 
ment: it is, however, more exalted than the 
temporary Elyjium in the court of Indra, where 
the pleafures, as in Muhammed’s paradife, are 
wholly fenfual ; but the MuSliy or Elyjian hap- 
‘ pinefs of the Vedanta School is far more fublime; 
for they reprefent it as a total abforption, though 
not fuqh as tp deftroy confeioufnefs, in the.di-. 
vine efleqee ; but, for the reafon before fug- 
gefted, I fay no mere of this idea of beatitude, 
and forbear touching on the dodtrine of tranf- 
migration and the llmilarity of the Vedanta to 
the Sicilian, Italick, and old Jcadcmick Schools. 

' V 

Secondly; in the myftical and elevated cha- 
ja^er of Pan, as a perfonification of the Uni^ 


Tcrfe, according to tlie notion of lord Bacon, 
there arifes a fort of fimilitude between him arid 

Crishna confidcred as Na'ra'yan. The Gre- 

% • 

dan god plays divinely on his reed, to exprefs, 
we are toljd,^ etherkl harmony ; he has his at- 
tendant Nymphs of the paftures and the-xlairy ; 
his face is as iVdiant as the Iky, and his head il- 
lumined with. the horns of a crefeent; whilft 
his lower extremities are deformed arid, ffiaggy, 
as a fymbol of the -vegetables, v^icH the earth 
produces^ and of the beafts, who roam over the 
face of it : now we may compare this portrait, 
partly with the general charafter of Crishna, 
the Shepherd God, and partly with the deferip- 
tion in the Bbdgavat of the divine fpirit ex- 
hibited in the fom of this Univerfal World) to 
which we may add the following ftory fi-om the 
fame extraordinary poem. ’The Nymphs had 
complained toYAso DA', that the child Crishna 
had been drinking their cui'ds and milk : on. 
being reproved by his fofter-mother for this in-' 
diferetion, he requelled her to examine his mouth; 
in -which, to her juft amazement, Ihe beheld the 
zvbole uuiverfe in all its plenitude* of mag- 

We mull not be furprized at. finding, on a 
clofe examination, that the charaflers of all the 
pagan deities, male and'female, melt into each 
other, and at laft into one or two ; for it feems 


a well-founded opinion,, that the whole crowd 
of gods and goddefles in ancient Rome, and mo- 
dern FiirdneSy mean only the powers of nature, 
and principally thofe of the' Su N, exprefifed in a 
variety of ways and by a multitude yof fanciful 

Thus have I attempted to trace,, impcrfetSlly at 
prefent for want of ampler materials, but with a 
confidence continually increafing as 1 advanced, 
a parallel between the Gods adored in three very 
different nations, Greece.^ li.ily, .aiid India ; but, 
which was the original fyflem and which the 
copy, I will not prefumc to decide ; nor are we 
likely, I believe, to be foon furniflicd with fuf- 
ficient grounds for a dccifion : the fundamental 
rule, that natural, and mojl human, operations pro- 
ceed from the Jimple to the compound, will afford 
no alTiflance on this point ; fince neither tlie 
jIJiatick nor European fyllem has any' firaplicity 
in it j and both are fo complex, not to fay ab- 
■furd, however intermixed with the beautiful and 
the fublime, that the honour, fucli as it is, of the 
invention cannot be allotted to either with tole- 
rable certainty. 

Since Egypt appears to have been the grand 
fburce of knowledge for the ivejlern, and India 
for the more eajiern, parts of the globe, it may 
feem a material queftion, whether the Egyptians 
communicated their Mythology and Philofophy 



to the Hindus^ or conyerfely ; but what the leafn- 
ed of -Memphis wrote or faid concerning India, 
no mortal knows : and what the learned of VA- 
rdnes have aflerted, if any thing, concerning 
Egypt, can give us little Idtisfadion : fuch cir- 
cumftantial evidence on this queftion .as'I have 
been able to c\Dlle£l, fliall neverthelefs be dated j 
becaufe, unfatisfadory as 'it is, there may be 
fomethjng in it not wholly unworthy ojf riotice; 
though after* all, whatever colojjfics may have 
come frohl the to the Ganges, wc* fliall, per- 
haps, agree at lafl: with Mr. Bryant, that 
Egyptians, Indians, Greeks, and ItalioJis, pro- 
ceeded originally from one central place, and 
that the fdme people carried their religion and 
fciences into ^bina and ’Japan: may we not 
add, even to Mexico and Peru ? 

Every one knows, that thft true name of Egypt 
is Mis'r, ‘fpelled with a palatial dbilant both in 
Hehreiv and Arabick: it feems in Hebrew to 
have been the proper name of the fird fettler in 
it ; and, when the Arabs ufe the word for a great 
city, they probably mean a city like the capital of 
Egypt. . Father Marco, 'Miffionary, 

who, though not a fcholar of the fird rate, i§ in- 
capable, I am perfuaded, of deliberate falfehood, 
lent me the lad book of a Rdmayan, which he 
had tranflated. through ^hc Hindi into his native 
language, and with it a fhort vocabulary of My- 


thologlcal andHiftorical tiames, which had been 
explained to him by the 'Pandits of Betiya,'v}\iQXQ 
he had long refided, : one of the articles in hia 
little didionary was, ** Tirut, a town and pro^ 
“ vince, in which the priefts frogj 'Egypt fet- 
tied j” and, when I alhed him, what name 
Egypt bore among the Hindus, he4iid Misfr, but 
obferved, that they fometimes • confounded it 
with Abyjfmia. I perceived, that his memory of 
what he had v^itten was correft ; for Mis'r was 
another wdrd in his index, “ from which coun- 
‘‘ try, he faid, came the Egyptian priefts, who 
“ fettled in Tirut." I fufpeded immediately, 
that his intelligence flowed from the Mtifelmans^ 
who call fugar-candy Mifri or Egyptian-, but, 
when I examined him clofely, and earneftly de- 
llred him to recoiled from whom he had re- 
ceived his information, he repeatedly and po- 
litively declared, that " it had been given him 
by feveral Hindus, and particularly by a Brdh- 
** man, his intimate friend, who was reputed a 
confiderable Pandit, and had lived three years 
“ near his houfe.” We then conceived, that the 
feat of his Egyptian^Xonj muft have been Ti- 
rdbit^ commonly pronounced Tirut, and anciently 
called Mifbila, . the principal town of Janaca- 
des'a, or north Babar; but Mahe'sa Pandit, 
W'ho was born in that very diftrid, and who fub- 
putted patiently to a long examination conceru^ 


Ing Mis'r, overfct all oUr conclufions •. Ke denied, 
that the Brahmans of his country were generally 
furnamed Misr, as we had, been informed ; and 
faid, that the addition of Misr A to the name of 
Va'chesp'pti, and other learned authors, was a 
title formerly conferred on the writers of miscel- 
lanies^ or coii^pihrs of various trafts on religion 
or fcience, the Xvor’d being** derived from a root 
fignifying to mix. Being afked, where the 
country of Misr was, “ dlicre ;^c two, lie an- 
fwered, of thatt name ; one of them in the zccjl 
f‘ under the dominion of Mufelmdns, and an-k 
other, wdiich all the Sdjtras and Vurdnas men- 
“ tion, in a* mountainous region to the north of 
ytyodhyd it is evident, that by the firft he 
meant Egypt, but what he meant by the fecond, 
jt is not .cafy to afeertain. A country, called 
Tiruhut our geographers* appears in the maps 
between the north -eaftern frontier of Aiidh and 
the mountains of Nepal ; but whether that was 
the Tirut mentioned to father Marco by his 
friend .of Bcliya, I cannot decide. This only I 
know with certainty, that Mifra is an epithet of 
two Brahmans in the drama of Sacontala', 
which w'as written near a century before, the 
birth of Christ ; that fome of the greateft law- 
yers, and two of the fineft dramatick poets, of In- 
dia have the lame title ;*that we hear it frequent- 
ly in court added to the names of Hindu parties; 
and that none of the Bandits, whom I hayje fince 


ON THE (Jobs, of Greece. 

confulted, pretend to know the true meaning of 
the word, as a proper name, or to give any other 
explanation of it than that it is a Jumame oj 
Brahmans in Lhe xvejl. On the account given to 
Cofonel Kyd by the old Raja of Crijbnanagar, 
“ concerning traditions among the Hindus, tliat 
“ fome Egyptians had fettled in iijis country,” I 
cannot rely ; becaufe; I am credibly informed by 
fome of the RdjiYs own family, that he was not 
a man of folidv^earning, though he.poflblTed cu- 
rious books, and had been attentive to' the con- 
verfation of learned men : befides, I know that 
his fon and moft of his kinfmen have been dab- 
blers in Perjian literature, and belieye them very 
likely, by confounding one fource of information 
■with another, to puzzle themfelves, and miflead 
thofe with whom they converfe. The word 
Mi’s';', fpelled alfo imSanJcrit With, a palatial fibi- 
lant, is very remarkable ; and, as far as Etymo- 
logy can help us, we may fafely derive Nilus 
from the Sanferit word nila, or blue ; fince Dio- 
Kvsius exprefsly calls the waters of that river 
“ an aiiure ftream and, if we can depend on 
Marco’s Italian verfion of the Rdmdyan, the 
name of A //u is given to a lofty and facred moun- 
tain with a fummit of pure gold, from which 
flowed a river of deary Jzveety and frejb water. 
M. SoNNERAT refers to a diflertation by Mr. 
ScHM^.‘:i^ which gained a prize at the Academy 
of inferiptions, “ On an Egyptian Colony efta- 


** blifhed in India it would be worth while to 
examine his authorities, and either to overturn 
or verify them by fuch higher authorities, as are 
now accelfible in thefe provinces. I ftrongly in- 
cline to think him right,, and to believe that 
Egyptian priefts have adually corn'd from the 
I^ilc to the Gy^nga and Tamuvuh which the limb- 
w/tw.fmoft aifuredly would. never have left: they 
might, indeedj have come either to be inftru£led . 
or to'ihftrudt ; but it feems rtiore^ probable, that 
they vifited the Surinam of Indta, as the fages of 
Greece vifited them, rather to acquii*e than to 
impart knowledge ; nor is it likely, that the felE- 
fufficient Brahmans would have received them 
as their preceptors. 

Be all this as it may, I am perfuaded, that a 
connexion fubfifted between the old idolatrous 
nations of Egypt, India, Greece, and Italy, long 
before th«y migrated to their feveral fettlements, 
and confequently before the birth of Moses j 
but the proof of this propofition will in no de- 
gree affed the truth and findity of the Mofaick 
Hiftory, which, if confirmation were neceffary, 
it would rather tend to confirm. The Divine 
Legate, '■ educated by the daughter of a king, 
and in all refpeds highly accompliihed, could 
not but know the mythological fyftem of Egypt ; 
but he muft have* condemned the fuperflitions 
of that people,' and defpifed the Speculative 


abfurdities of their priefts ; though fome of thei** 
traditions concerning the ‘ creation and the flood 
lArere grounded on truth. Who was better ac- 
quainted with the mythology of Athens than 
Socrates ? Who more accurately verfed in the 
Rabbinical, dodlriues than -Paul.? Who pof- 
fefl'ed clearer ideas of all ancient, aftronomical 
fyilems than Newton, or of fcAolaftick- me- 
taphyficks than Locke? In whom could the 
RoniiJI^ Church hav'c had a more formidable 
opponent than- in ChilliNgworth, whofe 
deep knowledge of its tenets rendered him fo 
competent to difpute them ? In a word, who 
more exadly knew the abominable rites and 
Ihocking idolatry of Canaan than Moses him- 
felf ? Yet the learning of thofe great men only 
incited them to feek other fources of truth, 
piety, and virtue, than thofe in which they had 
long been immerfed. There is nq Ihadow 
then of a foundation for an opinion, that Mos r.s 
borrowed the firll nine or ten chapters of Ge~ 
nejis from the literature of Egypt: ftill lefs can 
the adamantine pillars of our Cbrijlian faith be 
moved by t^e refult of any debates on the com- 
parative antiquity of the Hindus and Egyptians^ 
or of any inquiries into the Indian Theology. 
Very refpedable natives have aflured me, that 
one or two miflionaries have been abfurd enougbi 
in their zeal for the converfion of the Gentiles^ 

ITALY, AND ^DIA. 39^ ' 

to urge, “ that the Hindus were even now aW 
“ moft C^>;^w«^,becauTe their Brahma', Vish- 
Nu,\nd Mahe'sa, were no other than the 
“ Cljriflicui Trinity a fentence, in which wo 
can only doubt, whether folly, ignorance, or 
impiety predominates. The \hxQQ powers^ Crea- 
tive^ VrefervativCy and Dejlni&ivt^ which the 
Hindus exprefe by the triliteral word O m, were 
grofsly aferibed by the firft idolaters to the beat^ 
light, -and jiaj7ic of their miftaken divinity, the 

Sun ; and their wiftr fucceflbrs in the Eaft, who 

« • 

perceived that the Sun was only a created thing, 
applied thofe powers to its creator; but the 
Indian Triad, and that of Plato, which he 
calls the Supreme Good, the Reafon, and the 
Soul, are infinitely removed from the holinefs 
and fublimity of the dodlrine, which pious 
Chrijlians have deduced from texts in the Got 
pel, though other Cbrijlians, as pious, openly 
profefs their diflent from them. Each feft muft 
bejuftified by its own faith and good intentions: 
this only I mean to inculcate, that the tenet of 
our church cannot without profanenefs be com- 
pared with that of the Mindns, whiefi has only 
<in apparent refemblance to it, but a very dif* 
ferent meaning. One fingular faft, however, 
m*uft not be fufifered to pafs unnbticed. That 
the name of Crishna, md the general outline 
gf his fiory, were long anterior to the birth of 


bur Saviour, and probably to the time of Homer, 
we know very certainly; yet the celebrated 
poem, entitled Bhdgavat, which .contains a 
prolix account of his life, is filled with narratives 
of a -moft extraordinary kind, but ftrangely va- 
riegated and intermixed with poetical decora- 
tions : the incarnate deity of the Sanjerit ro- 
mance was cradled, as it informs us, among 
Herdfmen, but it adds, that , he was educated 
among them, and‘ pafled his youth in 'playing 
with a party of milkmaids ; a tyrant, at the 
time of his birth, ordered all new-born males to 
be flain, yet this wonderful ‘babe was preferved 
by biting the breaft, inftead of fucking the 
poifoned nipple, of a nurfe commiffioned to kill 
him; he performed amazing, but ridiculous, 
miracles in his infancy, and, at the age of feven 
years, held up a fountain on the tip of his 
little finger : he faved multitudes partly by his 
arms and partly by his miraculous powers ; he 
raifed the dead by defeending for that purpofe 
to the loweft regions ; he was the meekeft and 
beft-tempered of beings, waflied the feet of the 
Brdbmans,^ and preached very nobly, indeed, 
and fublimely, but always in their favour; he 
was pure and chafte in reality, but exhibited 
an appeajaijce of exceffive libertinifm, and had 
wives or|j®ftreflestoo jnumerbus to be counted; 
laftly, he was benevolent and tender, yet fo- 

ITAL'!^ And INDIA. 39S 

mented and condil£t$d a terrible war 'Diis 
motley 4^ory mull induce an opinion that the 
fpurious Grofpels, which abounded in the firft 
age of Cbrijiianityii • had been brought to India, 
and the wildeft parts of them repeated to the 
Hindus, who ingrafted them on the old fdble of 
Cb'sava, the Apollo of Greece. 

As to the general* extenftpn of our pure faith 
in Hindujtdn, there are at prefent many fad 
obftacles to it. The 'Mujelmdm are already a 
fort of heterodox Chrijiians : they are Cbrijiians, 
if Locke reafons juftly, becaufe they firmly 
believe the immaculate conception, divine cha- 
rader, and ntiracles of the Messiah j but they 
are heterodox, in denying vehemently his cha- 
rafter of Son, and his equality, as God, with the 
Father, of whofe unity and attributes they en- 
tertain and exprefs the moil &wful ideas ; while 
they confider our doflrine as perfedl blafphemy, 
and infift, that our copies of the Scriptures have • 
been corrupted both by yews and Cbrijiians. ' 
It will be inexpreifibly difficult to undeceive 
them, arid fcarce poifible to diminiih their ve- 
neration for Mohammed anjl Alj, ’who were 
both very extraordinary men, and the fecond, a 
man of unexceptionable morals: the Korun 
ihines, indeed, with a borrowed light, fince 
moil of its beauties are taken from our Scrip - 

VOL. 1. . £ E 


tur^s; but it has great beauties, and the Mufelindns 
will not be convinced that they were boprowed. 
The Hindus on the other hand would readily 
admit the truth of the Gofpel ; but they con- 
tend, that it is pcrfcdly confiftent with their 
Sdjlras : the deity, they fay, has appeared in- 
numerable times, in many parts of this world 
and of all worlds, for the falvation of his crea- 
tures y and though we adore him in one ap- 
pearance, and they in others, yet we adore, they 
fay, the fame Cod, to whom pur fevcral wor- 
Ihips, though different in form, are equally ac- 
ceptable, if they be fincere in fubftance. We 
may alTure ourfelves, that neither Mujelmans 
nor Hindus will ever be converted by any 
miflion from the Church of Rome, or from any 
other church ; and the only human mode, per- 
haps, of caufmg fo(;reat a revolution' will be to 
tranflatc into, Sanfa'it and Verjian fucii chapters 
. of the Prophets, particularly of Isaiah, as are 
•indifputably Evangelical, together with one of 
the Gofpels, and a plain prefatory difeourfe con- 
taining full evidence of the very diftant'ages; in 
which the prediflions themfelves, and the hiflory 
of the divine perfon predided, were feverally 
made publick ; and then quietly to difperfe the 
work among the well-educated natives; with 
whom if in, due time it failed of producing 


very falutary fruit by its natural influence _wc 
could only lament more than ever the ftrengfh 
of prejudice, and the weakncfe of unaiTifted 


friatfd by T. DaVUON',